Why you should put out a teal-colored pumpkin for Halloween this year
The Teal Pumpkin Project asks people to place a teal-colored pumpkin out front on Halloween if you are offering non-food treats for kids with food allergies.
Nancy Gregory of Food Allergy and Research says the Centers for Disease Control reported a 50 percent increase in food allergies between 1997 and 2011. She says when you're talking about food allergies and children, "that is a problem that we should all be paying attention to."
"One in 13 children in the U.S. has at least one food allergy. And 40 percent of those kids have experienced a severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis, (a severe allergic reaction that needs to be treated right away.) This is a growing problem here in the U.S. and the Teal Pumpkin Project helps insure that kids with food allergies and kids with other dietary restrictions are able to enjoy Halloween in the same manner that their friends do."
Gregory says you can offer non-food treats, such as glow sticks, pencils or Halloween erasers, along with candy and display a teal-colored pumpkin out front so kids with the food allergies know to collect something that won't hurt them, "this particular campaign is not trying to take away any tradition of offering candy, but just really to make Halloween even better for all kids." The point of the Teal Pumpkin Project is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible.
Some other non-food treats than can be offered at the front door include bracelets or necklaces, bubbles, mini slinkies, whistles, kazoos or noisemakers, bouncy balls, finger puppets or novelty toys, coins, spider rings, vampire fangs, mini notepads, playing cards, bookmarks, stickers and stencils.
According to FARE, a lot of these non-food items are available at dollar stores or online shops and are low cost items. For more information about FARE and the programs they offer, and more information about food allergies and anaphylaxis, visit foodallergy.org.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5
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