Amid a sea of orange, black and purple Halloween decorations, there's a growing crop of teal pumpkins in New Jersey. The color goes far beyond being trendy, it's actually about making trick or treating as fun and safe as possible!

As a kid in NJ, I was warned against unwrapped candy and items that appeared tampered with as Halloween hazards. Flash forward to now. Those are still priorities, (plus, there's avoiding known sex offenders) joined by the dangers of a potential food allergy flareup. We're talking life-threatening reactions among those with severe symptoms.

With roughly 15-million Americans now diagnosed with food allergies, nearly six million of them are kids (under 18). That’s 1 in 13 children! The Teal Pumpkin Project is an easy way to keep trick or treaters from being disappointed, house after house (or trunk after trunk, if you're at one of those parking lot 'Trunk or Treat' events).

You can paint an actual pumpkin teal, or scout out one of these faux jack o' lanterns at your local pharmacy. Or, you can just print out a Teal Pumpkin Project sign from the FARE website. Hang it near your door, to show that you have non-food treats available. Feeling crafty? Make your own sign, here's some easy phrases to include:

Non-Food Treats Available Here
We Have Candy and Non-Food Treats
Toys and Treasures Found Here
You Pick: Candy or Prize

As for what those non-food treats can be?  Temporary tattoos, spider rings, pencils, crayons or plastic vampire teeth are easy picks. There's a growing movement among schools to go healthier and allergy friendly, too, so there's bins at most NJ grocery stores offering seasonal goodies on the cheap. I typically start with leftover favors from our last couple of kids' parties and work from there.  Put the treats in a separate bucket near the candy, and you're good to go.

The way I see it, if I can help a few families avoid one of their worries and keep the festivities fun instead of stressful, it's worth the extra prep work.

Be safe and have a happy Halloween!

Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt’s first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee. A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.

Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook as ProudJersey.