By Abbey Stewart
Children with food allergies can enjoy Halloween a little bit more thanks to a national food-allergy organization’s campaign encouraging people to place teal pumpkins on their porches as a sign that their houses are handing out non-food trick-or-treat items.
For years, the Teal Pumpkin Project, created by moms of Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) who have children with allergies, has been used to include children who suffer from food allergies, celiac disease, and other conditions into Halloween’s trick-or-treating by placing a teal pumpkin or teal pumpkin banner on a porch during Halloween and handing out treats such as glow bracelets, vampire teeth, notepads, and other non-food items.
“Children with food allergies are often restricted or excluded during celebrations,” South Chapter Coordinator of FACET, Amanda Painter, said, “These children also remember those that go out of their way to include them.”
Numerous children have been unable to participate in Halloween due to the concern of allergies reacting with the trick-or-treating candies that could send a child to a hospital if they do not have the correct materials to treat it, according to FACET.
Halloween candies contain multiple ingredients that are part of the most common food allergies such as milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat and allergy reactions can lead to anaphylaxis, a severe food allergy reaction that, when left untreated, it can be fatal, according to the web site of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).
Some symptoms of food allergies do not occur right away and there could be a second wave of symptoms after the first wave, so being careful is key during the Halloween season to keep children safe, according to FARE.
“My daughter would be able to keep things like Skittles, lollipops, Starburst, etc…,” Chris Stewart, father of a child with food allergies, said, “Anything chocolate or homemade would have to go to her big brother.”
Many reactions start with skin symptoms, like hives or a rash, but some do not and more serious symptoms like a drop in blood pressure and trouble breathing can be life-threatening, according to FARE.
It is not just children with food allergies that benefit from the Teal Pumpkin Project, but food allergy specialists, parents, and adults with food allergies will benefit from the increased publicity of food allergies, according to FARE.