CARIBOU, Maine (WAGM) –
Halloween is right around the corner, and while little ghosts and goblins are anxious to get their hands on their favorite treats, for children with food allergies, Halloween night can taste bittersweet. NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard has the story.
Scott Fair is just your average 10-year-old, excited for Halloween night.
“What are you going to be for Halloween this year?”
“Minecraft Player,” says Scott Fair
However, Scott’s mother Kristina is preparing for a night of sorting through candy, and explaining to her son why he can’t have certain treats. Scott is allergic to red dye and tree nuts, meaning that he cannot consume many of the candies he often receives. That’s why Kristina, and many other parents in similar situations are advocates of the Teal Pumpkin Project.
Originally launched in 2012 by a food allergy group in Tennessee, the Teal Pumpkin Project is an initiative to help include children with food allergies on Halloween.
“So the Teal Pumpkin Project is to include kids with food allergies in Halloween in a safe and fun way. And what this means is having non-food items available for kids to get versus just food items. ” – Kristina Fair – Teal Pumpkin Project Supporter
To participate in the project, you simply purchase a non-food treat and then leave a teal-colored pumpkin outside your home. This pumpkin signals to parents of children with food allergies that your house has the option of a non-food treat for them. For parents like Kristina Fair, it is a relief.
“He loses most of his Halloween candy when he goes door to door, which is hard on a kid. Because you have to take their basket and then you have to go through all their candy and take out anything that’s not safe. So its really nice to be able to go to a house and be like “Hey there’s a teal pumpkin” that means I can go, my child has a food allergy, and he gets handed like a glowstick and walks off ”says Fair
Food Allergy Research & Education, or FARE is a non-governmental organization engaged in food allergy advocacy. Their website includes an interactive map where you can list your home as part of the teal pumpkin project, so parents of kids with food allergies know that their child will have a treat that won’t have to be taken away at the end of the night .
“As of this morning there were only four teal pumpkin houses registered in maine. One up in the county and three down by the coast. ” says Fair
Fair is hoping that she can bring awareness to the project, and help make Halloween a more inclusive holiday for children with food allergies. Scott just hopes that he receives more of his favorite non-candy treat.
“Sticky hands,” says Scott Fair
For more information or to become a part of the Teal Pumpkin Project visit this website https://www.foodallergy.org/our-initiatives/awareness-campaigns/living-teal/teal-pumpkin-project)
Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8
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