Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness of child food allergies

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – If you see teal pumpkins on Halloween, there’s a reason for that. Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) started the “Teal Pumpkin Project,” a nationwide effort to make trick-or-treating more friendly for kids with food allergies.

For most kids, Halloween is a time dedicated to getting as much candy as they possibly can. However, for kids with food allergies, Halloween can be a difficult time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there is almost 6 million kids under 18 years old with a food allergy — that’s around two kids in each school classroom.

Wichita mother, Melissa Solis, has a 13-year-old son who is allergic to watermelon.

“Any kind of candies with watermelon, gum, and I’ve noticed even the artificial flavor ones,” she explained. “Anything that he has come in contact with watermelon gives him hives and his throat swells up.”

According to Solis, he son has grown out of trick-or-treating, but when he was younger, Halloween wasn’t as fun for him — saying that she had to take candy away from him on Halloween.

With the Teal Pumpkin Project, homes can place teal pumpkins in front of the door. This indicates there are non-food items available for kids with food allergies.

Solis is participating in the campaign, and plans to hand out plastic rings, glow stick bracelets and Slinkies.

“With Teal Pumpkin Project offering little toys and trinkets, I think it’s more inclusive for everybody,” said Solis.

The Teal Pumpkin Project started in 2014, but is slowly making its way around the United States.

According to FARE, its goal is to have at least one home on every block in the U.S. with a teal pumpkin.

You can register to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project on its website.

Once registered, place a teal pumpkin on your doorstep. The website also has signs that can be printed out and placed on your door. Instead of buying candy, pick out inexpensive toys.

Solis said she hopes more people get involved in helping make trick-or-treating more enjoyable for kids with food allergies.

“I imagine Halloween and trick-or-treating for them just isn’t as fun,” she said. “It’s fun to go do it and collect it, but then they don’t get to eat that candy, and I’m sure that takes a little bit of the fun away.”

Solis is one of 13 homes and businesses participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. Find more participating homes in your area on the Teal Pumpkin Project’s website.

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