Submitted by county_ys on

Ready to go trick-or-treating? Want to collect some non-food treats? If so, pull on your costume, grab your bag and head over to one of our BCLS locations participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project this Halloween!

Founded by a mom, Teal Pumpkin Project is about raising awareness of food allergies and promoting inclusion for all trick-or-treaters this October. Since the color associated with food allergy awareness is teal, Becky Basalone decided to paint a pumpkin that color in 2012, put it on her doorstep and hand out non-food treats. The idea took off and today the green-blue pumpkin is a nationwide symbol for food-allergy awareness at Halloween.

Did you know that more than 170 foods have been reported to cause allergic reactions? The eight major food allergens are; milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and crustacean shellfish. Many of these ingredients can be found in classic Halloween candies. Researchers estimate that 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under age 18. That’s one in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom!

This year, all BCLS branches are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. Kids can stop by any any location this Halloween and trick-or-treat for a non-food item! You can also turn your own home into an allergy-safe spot by offering non-food items for trick-or-treaters.

Adults can show their support too! Simply place a teal-colored pumpkin in front of your home to signify you’ll also be passing out non-food treats to trick-or-treaters who stop by this Halloween. You can also display a free printable sign or poster from FARE (Food Allergy and Research and Education) to explain the meaning of your teal pumpkin. FARE's Teal Pumpkin Project is a worldwide movement to create a safer, happier Halloween for all kids.