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Teal pumpkins create safer, happier Halloween for kids with food allergies


SAN DIEGO – Some children who have food allergies tend to have an especially difficult time trick-or-treating on Halloween.

The Teal Pumpkin Project is an initiative to help kids with food allergies on Halloween by making the joy of trick-or-treating available to as many children as possible.

“The idea there is you would be having non-food treats for kids with food allergies so they hopefully don’t have any kind of reaction,” allergist Dr. Nathan Hare told KSWB

Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies. This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in every 13 children in the U.S.

Learn More: Ideas for non-food treats

Dr. Hare said if you see a teal pumpkin on someone’s porch, it is a safe place for children with food allergies to trick-or-treat. Good news for Josh Zimmerman, whose son Issac is severely allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.

“When he was younger, we used to go around ahead of time to the houses he would trick or treat at, put a nice little dinosaur sticker on the bag,” Zimmerman said. “He would knock and ask for safe treats that we would provide ahead of time.”

Complete coverage: Halloween 2016

Zimmerman called the Teal Pumpkin Project a blessing.

“Trying to tell someone so young they can’t go trick or treating when all their friends are doing it, it’s just a killer.
he said. “Have that nice little teal pumpkin out or a poster letting you know it’s safe, terrific.”

The top three food allergies are milk, egg, and peanut, Dr. Hare said.

Click here to find Teal Pumpkin homes in your area.