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10/15/22 blog post

go teal for allergy awareness this Halloween!

Click on the photo above to print your own teal pumpkin sign and hang it up outside your house! 

Halloween is a wonderful time for kids to express their creativity and dress up as someone they love and adore. And who doesn’t love trick-or-treating for candy? But did you know that one in 13 children suffer from food allergies? This makes trick-or-treating tricky. Whether it’s a tree-nut allergy or a gluten allergy, Halloween candy can be very dangerous for kiddos with food allergies due to the specific ingredient or even cross contamination. That’s why Food Allergy Research & Education Organization (FARE) founded the Teal Pumpkin Project.

The Teal Pumpkin Project was created to allow a safe trick-or-treating environment for all kids, even those with food allergies. All you have to do is place a teal pumpkin on your front porch to let families know you have a non-food treat (like a small trinket or toy). Most major grocery stores even sell teal plastic pumpkins!

ideas for non-food trick-or-treat goodies

You can find low-cost items at the dollar stores, party supply stores or even Amazon.

  • Glow sticks
  • Bubbles
  • Bouncy balls
  • Spider rings
  • Playing cards
  • Mini notepads
  • Stickers
  • Bookmarks

If you have a kiddo with allergies, Halloween can still be a fun time for them to plan their costume and get treats. David Morris, MD, division chief of pediatric allergy and immunology at Dayton Children’s is providing tips for parents whose children have allergies to prepare for a safe trick-or-treat night.

6 tips for safe trick-or-treating for children with allergies

  1. Have safe treats and toys to trade your child for anything that they can’t have.
  2. Don’t let them eat anything out of their bag while trick-or-treating.
  3. Don’t let them have anything that doesn’t have ingredients listed.
  4. Mini and fun-size candies may have different ingredients than full-size candies, so make sure you read labels even if you think something has been safe for them in the past.
  5. Leave unsafe candy out the night of Halloween for the “Good Witch” to take and have a small gift or safe treats out for your child in the morning.
  6. Consider having a Halloween party at home instead of trick-or-treating to avoid the chances of anaphylaxis.

Remember to always keep an epinephrine auto-injector (epi-pen), if prescribed, on you in case of an emergency. Kids with allergies should get to enjoy Halloween just as much as any other kid so keep it fun and be safe! Happy Halloween!

For more information about the Teal Pumpkin Project, click here.

David Morris 2023
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David Morris, MD

division chief allergy / immunology
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