October 8, 2015

When You’re Allergic to Pumpkins and Peanuts on Halloween

Most will fully embrace the frights that come with Halloween, but for those with food allergies in the family, October 31st brings a new level of scare. Pumpkin allergies, peanut allergies and milk intolerance: oh my! Trick-or-treating can be the scariest part of Halloween when you’re trying to avoid candy and treats that could lead to a life-threatening allergic reaction and a trip to the emergency room.

With one in 13 children in the United States affected by a food allergy of some kind, parents started to look for a way to make Halloween a positive, fun, safe and happy experience for all.

In years past, parents of children affected by food allergies may have visited households in their neighborhood prior to trick-or-treating time and pre-delivered toys or non-food treats to ask they be given to their child instead of candy when they stop by (what a chore!). Or maybe they avoided the festivities altogether for safety.

Thankfully, a campaign led by the Food and Allergy Research and Education Organization (FARE) is raising awareness about the potentially deadly “tricks” in Halloween trick-or-treating. With its “Teal Pumpkin Project” FARE asks people to display a teal-painted pumpkin outside their door to signify they are offering non-food treats (think small toys, stickers, tattoos, bouncy balls and crayons) for kids with allergies. The Today Show recently reported that the campaign is catching on with 4.5 million views to the campaign’s first posts online.  If you plan on displaying a teal pumpkin, too, you can take the Teal Pumpkin Project pledge here.

I think we’ll all be seeing a few more teal pumpkins on doorsteps this season. Will you put one on yours?

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