Local families participating in national initiative to keep kids safe on Halloween

Teal Pumpkins: Trick-or-treating safety for kids with severe food allergies

For millions of children with food allergies and their parents, the Halloween trick-or-treating tradition can sometimes be fraught with anxiety because many sweets that are handed out contain major food allergens such as milk, peanuts, tree nuts and wheat.

What makes Halloween easier for Norris is teal pumpkins.

Hess and his family have been collecting pumpkins and painting them teal for the past three years.

Many of those with life threatening allergies can't enjoy traditional Halloween treats.

According to Food Allergy Research and Education, one out of every thirteen children in the U.S. has at least one food allergy.

To let Trick or Treaters know you're handing out allergy-safe treats, simply buy or paint a teal pumpkin and put it on your front porch.

"One in 13 children in the USA has at least one food allergy, and reports show that anaphylactic food reactions have climbed dramatically in recent years", said Lois A. Witkop, chief advancement officer at FARE.

Families who are managing other diseases for which candy presents a problem, such as diabetes and celiac disease, have also shown support.

You can include your home if you plan to offer non-food related items this year. Cross-contamination is a concern, as many food allergies require only a small amount of the allergen to trigger a reaction.

Aaron Hess has two kids, both with food allergies, and he said it gives them the chance to be part of the fun like everyone else. Schwartz recommends checking to see if the medication is up-to-date before leaving the house, as auto-injectors typically expire within one year.

For younger children, Schwartz adds, "You don't want to bring up the larger, darker side of things".

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