Making Halloween Safe for Children with Food Allergies

 

Pediatric Alliance — Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Division

 

Dr. Sergei Belenky & Dr. Deborah Gentile

 

Born out of one mom’s desire to help ensure that children with food allergies would not feel left out on Halloween, the Teal Pumpkin Project®, now in its fourth year as a national awareness campaign led by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), has spread far and wide — reaching millions across the U.S. and beyond — in an effort to help create a happier, safer Halloween for all.

For millions of children with food allergies and their parents, the Halloween trick-or-treating tradition can sometimes be fraught with anxiety because many candies that are handed out contain major food allergens such as milk, peanuts, tree nuts and wheat. FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safety and inclusion for all trick-or-treaters by encouraging people to provide non-food treats on Halloween. A pumpkin painted teal, the color for food allergy awareness, signals that children will find a fun, non-food treat that anyone can enjoy.

 

 

“One in 13 children in the U.S. has at least one food allergy, and reports show that anaphylactic food reactions have climbed dramatically in recent years,” said Deborah Gentile MD, an allergist with Pediatric Alliance. “It’s clear that food allergies are a serious public health issue that we all must take seriously. The Teal Pumpkin Project provides an opportunity for all of us to show empathy for kids who often feel excluded. We would love to see at least one teal pumpkin on every block — and it’s a terrific way for communities to come together to celebration inclusion.”

According to Sergei Belenky MD, an allergist with Pediatric Alliance, “The Teal Pumpkin Project made the holiday inclusive for kids with food allergies. Teal pumpkins empower children with food allergies to feel both safe and included on Halloween. This movement has allowed children with food allergies to freely participate, and that is amazing.”

Being part of the Teal Pumpkin Project is simple. Supporters can:

> Provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters.

> Paint a pumpkin teal or buy a teal pumpkin at your local craft store or pharmacy, or print a free sign from FARE’s website.

> Place your teal pumpkin or sign in front of your home to indicate non-food treats                          are available.

 

Launched nationally in 2014, the Teal Pumpkin Project has attracted supporters from 50 states and more than a dozen countries.

FARE has a number of resources to help individuals and families get involved, including:

> ideas for non-food treats,

> free downloads such as official Teal Pumpkin Project signs, fliers, stencils and kids’ activities,

> Halloween Essentials Kit, posters and garden flag available for purchase from FARE’s e-store and

> an online crowd-sourced map that shows participating households.

 

For more information about the Teal Pumpkin Project, visit www.tealpumpkinproject.org.