Many kids with allergies find that Halloween brings restrictions instead of treats. This year, the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) started a campaign, The Teal Pumpkin Project, that urges people to place a teal painted pumpkin on their porches to raise awareness of food allergies by providing non-food treats for allergic trick-or-treaters.
The idea has been shared by 2.7 million people in less than 72 hours after FARE posted about it. This is the first year where the idea has been promoted nationally.
About six million children in this country have a food allergy and Halloween can be a scary holiday for them when most houses pass out candy and chocolate which contain milk, nuts, eggs, soy, wheat, and other allergens. FARE recommends that families hand out treats such as: glow sticks, bracelets, pencils, markers, noisemakers, coins, playing cards, bubbles, bookmarks, stencils, stickers, etc. All kids feel the need to be included; if you only give out candy, many with allergies will be left out. By passing out candy, many are left out, which is easily avoidable.
Mireille Schwartz, the founder and CEO of the Bay Area Allergy Advisory Board says, “checking labels becomes very pivotal because during the holidays, including Halloween, when the manufacturers make those small-sized candies and they’re often mass-produced on shared equipment. Candy that’s safe other times of the year might not be safe during Halloween.”
Cross-contamination is always a concern because many food allergies require only a small amount of allergens to trigger a reaction. Always check every label of every food item that lands in your pumpkins and pillow covers before eating it. Food allergies can be life threatening and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Be a part of this campaign and stay safe on Halloween.