Arts & Entertainment

Teal Pumpkin Project keeps Halloween safe for children with food allergies

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Teal Pumpkin Project keeps Halloween safe for children with food allergies
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SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The Food Allergy Research & Education’s (FARE) Teal Pumpkin Project is geared toward making Halloween less trick and more treat for children with food allergies.

FARE is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to food allergy research, education, advocacy and awareness and the world’s largest private source of funding for food allergy research. Launched as a national campaign in 2014, the goal of FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project is to keep Halloween fun and, most importantly, safe for all children by raising awareness of food allergies and promoting inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season. 

By placing a teal-painted pumpkin on the doorstep or posting one of the organization’s free downloadable ‘Teal Pumpkin Project’ signs on a door or in a window, homeowners can let trick-or-treaters and their families know that they offer safe, non-food treats for children with allergies.

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On Halloween, some inexpensive alternatives to candy that homeowners can hand out include small party favors or toys, stickers, tattoos, glow bracelets, crayons or Halloween-themed pencils – many of which can be purchased at a local dollar store.

“The Teal Pumpkin Project is an amazing way for kids with various food allergies to enjoy Halloween with less worry. They see a teal pumpkin or a sign and they know a safe candy/food or non-food items is available to them,” said Kristen Busch, a mom of two boys, ages 5 and 2 - each with a different food allergy.

A food allergy is a life-altering and potentially life-threatening disease; 15 million Americans currently have some sort of food allergy, including 1 in 13 children. Many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat – the most common allergens in both children and adults – and many miniature candy items do not have ingredient labels or allergen warnings, making it difficult for parents to determine whether these treats are safe.  

Additionally, in some cases, foods believed to be ‘safe’ may have been manufactured using the same equipment that process allergy-ridden items while others may have been cross contaminated somewhere along the way. This also goes for some boxed cake mixes used to make cupcakes and other pre-packed baked goods sold at bakeries, grocery stores and even Dunkin’ Donuts. With the Halloween season upon us, Dunkin’ Donuts is once again selling its ‘Reese’s’ products and while items such as Munchkins are normally safe for those with peanut allergies, there is the possibility that the donut holes could have come into contact with the seasonal peanut butter treats.

“In many cases, parents who don't have a child with a food allergy may not be aware of how upsetting it is for those children who do,” said Kerry Notino, whose 5-year-old son has a peanut allergy. “Children with food allergies often feel ‘excluded’ from simple things, such as classroom parties or trick or treating, simply because they cannot eat something.”

Notino continued, “The Teal Pumpkin Project not only lets the child with an allergy know that a safe alternative is available to them but shows that the homeowners took the initiative to ’include’ all children.”

For more information about the Teal Pumpkin Project or to download a free sign to post on your door this Halloween, visit www.tealpumpkinproject.org. To view the Safe Snack Guide, visit http://snacksafely.com/safe-snack-guide/.

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