VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) — Teal is the new orange when it comes to pumpkins at some homes.Parents across the country are adding teal-colored pumpkins to their doorsteps to help include children with food allergies in Halloween trick-or-treating.It’s called the Teal Pumpkin Project. Kristin Orbourne is one of those people putting the pumpkins outside her home.
“Being able to offer something that’s safe and that’s not food for our children with food allergies it’s just life-changing everyone wants to participate in Halloween,” said Osborne. Putting a teal pumpkin on a doorstep means they have non-food treats available, such as glow sticks or small toys. Osborne has three sons that suffer from severe food allergies. She said the simple act promotes inclusion for trick-or-treaters with food allergies or other conditions.”Having options like this not only for families of children with food allergies but also families who might navigate diabetes or other gestational diseases or issues. Having a nonfood treat is just an easy option and it works across the board for everyone,” said Osborne.
She said the initiative was started by a mother in Tennessee and then adopted by the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) group. The initiative launched in 2014 to raise awareness about food allergies and to let trick-or-treaters know which houses are offering non-food treats.According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 4 percent to 6 percent of children in the United States are affected by food allergies, and some reactions can be deadly.That’s a very sad part of our community we all are very close. Knowing when a child passes away that may not know that they have a food allergy and they eat something they are allergic,” said Osborne. Osborne said her hope is that more people get on board and put teal pumpkins outside their homes. “The Teal pumpkin project is about adding nonfood treats definitely not taking away your candy. We are just having something available for children that aren’t food that they are able to use and enjoy like everyone else,” said Osborne.
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