• James Armstrong

Teal pumpkins popping up on the Halloween trick or treat beat


SHUTTERSTOCK PHOTO/COPYRIGHT LOST MOUNTAIN STUDIO

Teal and orange pumpkins at Halloween indicating that both allergy safe non-food treats as well as candies are available to trick or treaters.

If you see teal coloured pumpkins cropping up in your neighborhood they are more than a Halloween fashion statement – in fact, they’re a food safety statement designed to protect children with food allergies.

A large portion of the candy, including the goodies handed out to the marauding ghosts, witches, and various super heroes at the end of October, is off-limits to most children with food allergies according to Food Allergy Research and Education organization (FARE).

According to FARE, the Teal Pumpkin Project was started three years ago by Beck Basalone, a Tennessee Mom, whose son has experienced anaphylaxis from food allergies. She painted a pumpkin the color teal and put it on her doorstep to raise food allergy awareness.

The Teal Pumpkin Project promotes the distribution of non-food treats on Halloween such as glow sticks, bracelets, necklaces, seasonal erasers and pencil toppers, and vampire fangs. The international project, based in the United States, aims to have at least one teal pumpkin in front of one home on every block in the United States in 2016.

Former Hudson area resident and parent of a 2-year-old child with food allergies, Nick Thompson, said he wasn’t aware of the Teal Pumpkin Project but was happy to hear about it. “Carlo is all hyped up for Halloween,” Thompson said in an interview Tuesday, October 18. “We know which candies are okay for him,” he added.

Carlo was diagnosed at an early age with an allergy to milk, eggs, peanuts, nuts and soy. His adverse reaction to food began with his transition from breast-feeding to formula. “We have been able to slowly re-introduce milk into his diet,” said Thompson noting that Carlo has tests every six months to determine the level of intolerance and see if anything has changed.

According to FARE, the statistics are 1 in 13 children have a food allergy. The most common food allergens for children and adults are found in nuts, eggs, milk, soy or wheat and are found in many popular Halloween treats. Some miniature-sized treats don’t have labels and may not contain the same ingredients as their larger counter-parts.

The goal of the Teal Pumpkin Project is to make trick-or-treating as safe and inclusive for everyone as possible. If you are interested in participating in the project and promoting it in your neighbourhood, visit www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project for further information and ideas.

And watch out for those teal coloured pumpkins – they’re a good sign.

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