Teal Pumpkin Project making Trick-or-Treating with food allergies safer

A campaign is helping to save the lives of children with food allergies on Halloween.

For many children reaching into that bowl to pull out a piece of candy while trick-or-treating could mean life or death because of food allergies. But a program that is still in its first few years is starting to gain traction as it aims to save lives. It is called the Teal Pumpkin Project.

5-year-old Cadence has about a dozen food allergies and told us a few them. She said, "Peanuts, soy, peanut butter, and bananas."

Her mother Courtney Floyd told us, "At about six months old we walked into a Logan's Roadhouse and her face started swelling up and getting red before we even made it up to the hostess desk, and that's when we learn she had a peanut allergy."

She's one of 1.3 million kids in the U.S. with food allergies. Dr Patricia Dinger, an allergist and immunologist said, "The truth is all food allergies can be life-threatening and so that's the biggest concern here and I see it every day."

That's where the Teal Pumpkin Project comes in. You start by painting a pumpkin teal, placing it on your doorstep on Halloween, and offering candy and non-food items like toys, pencils, and markers, for the kiddos trick-or-treating who have food allergies.like 10-year-old Melina who said, "The more people that get involved, the more people that have peanut allergies get to participate more in trick-or-treating."

Stacey Kingdon said her 10-year-old son Alex is managing his peanut allergy but loves the Teal Pumpkin Project. She told us, "Now it is so much safer to know that there are people out there that care, and that do this, because it's more enjoyable for him to know he can actually eat the candy or play with the toys."

Dr. Dinger added, "One of the other little girls said the same thing. She would love it if there was a teal pumpkin at every house in her neighborhood so she could go trick-or-treat and not have to give all of her stuff back to her mom and get new candy but if she could actually keep what she got."

So paint a pumpkin, pick a pencil, and please many parents and children this Halloween.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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