Teal pumpkins keep kids with food allergies safe | CraigDailyPress.com

Teal pumpkins keep kids with food allergies safe

Children with food allergies use teal pumpkins as a signal that treats are safe

Haizley Violi of Craig reaches into a teal pumpkin for an allergy conscious candy offered by Homemaker Furnishings at their annual pumpkin patch last Saturday.

— No one likes to be left out, but that's often what happens to kids with food allergies during Halloween trick-or-treating.

"One in 13 children in the U.S. has a food allergy, a potentially life-threatening disease that presents many challenges for millions of families across the country," said Food Allergy Research & Education a group that supports allergy research as well as safety and access to health care for those with food allergies.

Allergies in children are on the rise.

"Worldwide, sensitization rates to one or more common allergens among school children are currently approaching 40 to 50 percent," said the World Health Organization that is tasked with tracking global health trends.

The Teal Pumpkin project was started by the Food Allergy Research & Education organization in 2014 to "provide an alternative for kids with food allergies, as well as other children for whom candy is not an option, and keep Halloween a fun, positive experience."

Participating is as simple as one, two three steps:

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  1. Paint a pumpkin teal or buy a plastic teal pumpkin.
  2. Fill it with inexpensive non-food treats such as glow sticks or small toys.
  3. Place the teal pumpkin out to show safe treats are available.

Food Allergy Research & Education's goal for Halloween 2016 is to make "teal the new orange" by having a teal pumpkin on every block in every neighborhood in the U.S.

Teal pumpkins filled with hard candy and bubble gum were used on Saturday during Homemaker Furnishings' annual pumpkin patch.

"We provided allergy conscious candy, no nuts, no chocolate," said store owner Anthony Shepard.

His children are allergy free, but he understands that allergies are a serious issue for many children in the community.

"This year in particular, more people are becoming aware of how life-altering a food allergy diagnosis can be, and how difficult it can be to manage this potentially life-threatening medical condition," said Chief Advancement Officer Lois A. Witkop of Food Allergy Research & Education. "We hope that everyone who participates in the fun tradition of Halloween will incorporate a teal pumpkin into their celebration, bringing smiles to the faces of kids with food allergies."

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.