Teal Pumpkin Project Offers Halloween Alternatives For Kids With Allergies
OKLAHOMA CITY - You may have noticed recently some unusually colored pumpkins popping up on porches in your neighborhood. Those teal pumpkins are part of the Teal Pumpkin Project to help make Halloween a lot less scary for kids with food allergies.
The project is pretty simple. Just paint a pumpkin teal and place it on your front porch as a signal for kids with food allergies that you are handing out safe treats.
On Halloween night, the streets will be filled with kids on a quest for candy. It's one of the best parts of Halloween, just ask Marnita Gordon’s kids. Her son says cotton candy is his favorite.
Her daughter has a harder time narrowing it down: “Hersheys and Kit Kats and Milky Ways.”
They're free to enjoy it. But their mom didn't when she was a kid because of her food allergy.
“Certain candies, yeah I couldn’t eat it because of the allergy,” said Gordon.
Allergists say six to eight percent of young children have food allergies. Among the most common are nuts, eggs and milk, typical ingredients in Halloween candy.
“We want the kids to have fun and if they can’t go trick-or-treating, or all of their stuff is taken away, that’s really a not a great time for them,” said Dr. Gregory Metz, a board certified allergist with the Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic.
That's why the advocacy group FARE came up with the Teal Pumpkin Project.
“Instead of handing out candies that could have these potentially harmful food allergens, we give non-food treats. Things like stickers, coloring books, other things to make it a special time for kids with food allergies,” explained Metz.