For children with food allergies, Halloween can be a sad and heartbreaking holiday, as they can’t eat much or any of the sweets handed out to them after trick-or-treating. This year, the Food Allergy Research & Education, FARE, thought of children with allergies on Halloween and came up with the Teal Pumpkin Project that will allow kids to take part in the festivities and enjoy great toys that are handed out from teal pumpkins.
This Halloween, houses across the U.S. that will offer treats of a non-food nature will be marked by the presence of a teal pumpkin outside.
The FARE website had this to say about the Teal Pumpkin Project:
This campaign encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies by providing non-food treats for trick-or-treaters and painting a pumpkin teal – the color of food allergy awareness – to place in front of their house along with a free printable sign from FARE to indicate they have non-food treats available. The Teal Pumpkin Project is designed to promote safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies – and to keep Halloween a fun, positive experience for all.
According to the Food Allergy Research & Education researchers, up to 15 million American have at least one type of food allergy. When it comes to children under the age of 18, one in 13 children has a food allergy. In 2013, the CDC released a study that revealed that food allergies are on the rise inside the U.S. and that in children, food allergies increased by 50% in the last 20 years. More than 200,000 visits to the ER happen because of food allergies.
Joey Nespoli is a 6-year-old boy from Aquebogue who is allergic to peanuts, wheat, barley and coconut. Him and his mother, Stacy, have painted their pumpkin teal this year and are looking forward to giving out and receiving toys, glow sticks, crayons, bubbles and vampire fangs.
The parents of children with food allergies along with FARE are working together to educate parents and Americans about food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project is just one way to do just that: teach people that food allergies are life-threatening.