Keeping kids with allergies safe on Halloween

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- For kids with food allergies, a holiday centered around candy can be tough.

“Everyone else can just eat their candy as soon as they get it, and I have to double check,” said Laurel Collins, who has food allergies.

Collins has been allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and soy protein for most of her life. For her, Halloween can be scary because it’s dangerous to eat certain kinds of candy.

For Collins, and other kids who have food allergies, a pumpkin project is changing the way they trick-or-treat.

These pumpkins aren't orange...they're teal.

“It makes me feel really happy that they’re aware of the allergies that I have and other kids have,” said Collins.

A teal pumpkin means a house is allergy friendly, and has non-edible treats.

“It just makes me feel more supported that people care and are really putting a little bit more thought into helping everyone have a good Halloween,” said Collin’s mom, Hannah Holm.

It’s a simple gesture. Simply placing a teal pumpkin outside your front door to show kids and families that you have alternative treats for those with allergies.

“A sticker, or a little plastic toy, something non-edible instead of candy,” said Christine Kemmer, who participates in the teal pumpkin project. “Everybody can feel comfortable.”

Whether it’s a rubber snake or vampire teeth, it lets every kid enjoy the holiday without fear. According to the group Food Allergy Research and Education, homes in all 50 states and 14 countries took part in the teal pumpkin project last year.

Allergy specialists said the trend creates a safer environment.

“We have to take food allergies very serious,” said allergist, Dr. David Scott. “I think the teal pumpkin project is a great idea on a lot of levels. First, it shows that there’s community awareness and support.”

Even families who don’t deal with food allergies on a regular basis can be part of the project and make a difference.

“It is something small that people can do to make a big impact to the families of kids with food allergies,” said Kemmer. “It’s just something that will make a difference and make that holiday just a little bit more special”

It’s a small effort that goes a long way, “It’s really nice that people are doing that for me and other people,” said Collins.

The pumpkins are teal because that is the color of food allergy awareness.

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