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Food Allergy Awareness: Teal New Orange for Pumpkins

A teal pumpkin signifies a house handing out food-allergy-safe treats for Halloween. Courtesy: FARE
A teal pumpkin signifies a house handing out food-allergy-safe treats for Halloween. Courtesy: FARE
October 28, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Halloween can be too spooky for children with food allergies, which is why a growing number of people in Missouri and nationwide will be designating their homes as safe for all children and passing out non-food treats.

An estimated one-in-13 children suffers from a food allergy, which Veronica LaFemina, vice president for communication at Food Allergy Research and Education, said can be life-threatening. She added that the only way to prevent a potentially severe reaction is to completely avoid an allergen.

"That means having to read every label for every food you may consume," she said. "That means every meal of every day of every snack. And so this is something that affects all areas of life for the children and families managing this disease."

The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to place a teal-colored pumpkin or a sign outside the home to indicate they are passing out allergy-safe, non-food items. An interactive map of homes in Missouri that have pledged to participate is available at foodallergy.org.

The Teal Pumpkin Project was launched last year as a way to make the holiday safer and more inclusive. LaFemina said tens of thousands of families have pledged to participate this year, and not just those with food allergies.

"We've also heard great responses from kids and their families who are managing other diseases such as diabetes or celiac disease, ADHD, autism," she said, "so there's a great benefit to many, many children."

She said there are many fun non-food treats that can be passed out, including glow sticks, pencils, stickers, spider rings and bubbles.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO