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Have a child with food allergies? Here's how teal pumpkins can help you this Halloween
In line with the Teal Pumpkin Project, people are painting pumpkins that color to let parents and kids known they offer nonfood treats for children with food allergies this Halloween. - photo by Payton Davis
Parents of children with food allergies understand that doubt over whether an unknown piece of candy could harm their kids can turn a normally fun activity like trick-or-treating into a stressful guessing game.

So the Teal Pumpkin Project stepped in, encouraging people to stock up on nonfood items to give trick-or-treaters this Halloween. According to Yahoo Parenting, the organization also suggested these people with offerings other than candy place a teal pumpkin on their porches to let parents and children know they can stop by and collect something that "won't make them sick and won't potentially kill them."

Why are people participating?

Yahoo Parenting's piece indicated it's not difficult, shows people understand the issue of food allergies in children and makes trick-or-treating safer.

"You see, teal pumpkins mean that you know that not all kids can have all foods and that you can provide a fun nonfood treat to the little ghosts and goblins that visit your home on Oct. 31," Yahoo Parenting reported.

Jeanette Settembre wrote for the New York Daily News both parents and project participants see the initiative improving Halloween night though not all people know about it.

Long Island, New York, native Jill Mindlin told Settembre she put out a teal pumpkin in 2014. She said she didn't notice the public catching on, but "a handful" of kids with food allergies showed excitement at Mindlin's spider ring, glow stick and sticker treats.

"Boy, did their faces light up," she told Settembre, noting she plans to put out a teal pumpkin again this year.

Heidi Sexson told Shari Rudavsky of the Indianapolis Star she saw the project's benefits from a different view: As a parent of a child whose Halloween experience proves frustrating because of food allergies.

Sexson's 7-year-old son, Joseph, is allergic to milk, eggs and peanuts, Rudavsky reported. Sexson detailed a meticulous post-trick-or-treat process where she and her husband examined Joseph's Halloween haul, switching questionable snacks out for treats Joseph's sister acquired that wouldn't harm him.

According to Rudavsky, the complications bother Sexson's son, and the pumpkin project helps because "he is so excited when it's a treat he can have."

Food Allergy Research and Education, a nonprofit organization, created the Teal Pumpkin Project to inform the public of food allergies and include all kids in Halloween celebrations, Sarah Spigelman Richter wrote for Mashable.

Food allergies affect 15 million Americans, and 1 in 13 U.S. children suffer from them, Rudavsky reported.

Richter wrote because of those numbers, the year-old initiative plans to garner more support.

"After homes from 50 states and seven countries participated, the Teal Pumpkin Project hopes to reach 100,000 participating households in 2015," Richter reported.
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