A bag of Halloween candy isn’t all treats for the one in thirteen U-S kids who suffer from food allergies, which is why one group is working to make this year’s holiday a little less tricky.
Angela Fuller founded Food Allergy Families of the Triad after her child was born with food allergies. She says she really appreciates people who distribute inexpensive items that aren’t going to exclude her child as they trick-or-treat, “Whenever people do offer food-free treats like little spider rings or bouncy balls, those are the things that our kids can enjoy and they get just as much enjoyment out of those things as kids do out of a Snickers bar.”
This year Fuller and other families will be looking for houses with a special pumpkin. The group Food Allergy Research and Education is encouraging houses who participate to paint a pumpkin teal, the color of food allergy awareness, and put it on the porch or doorstep, along with a sign indicating the house is allergy-safe. A free printable sign and more information is online at FoodAllergy.org.
Veronica LaFemina with the group “Food Allergy Research and Education” adds that food allergies can leave many children feeling left out, and she hopes the Teal Pumpkin Project will help create a more inclusive holiday, “It’s empowering for families managing food allergies to know that their neighbors and communities really want to make sure that their children are feeling involved and safe, and able to participate in the same way their friends can.”
Fuller says with candy being such a traditional part of Halloween, her group and others are working hard to realize there are other options that can be found at a comparable cost, “It’s really just getting our generation and previous generations to get on board and recognize that it wasn’t like this when we were kids but this is where we are now. ”
Because of cross-contamination risks for allergy sufferers and other safety concerns for all kids, experts remind parents to carefully inspect Halloween treats, and to set a “No Eating While Trick-or-Treating” policy.