Teal Pumpkin Project helps kids with food allergies feel include - KMOV.com

Teal Pumpkin Project helps kids with food allergies feel included on Halloween

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Nicole Steen and her family put out teal pumpkins every year. (Credit: KMOV) Nicole Steen and her family put out teal pumpkins every year. (Credit: KMOV)
O'FALLON, Ill. (KMOV.com) -

No child should feel excluded from trick or treating on Halloween night, but if you are only handing out candy to the kids, you may be restricting some children without even realizing it.

Many kids have food allergies, which makes trick or treating very limiting. However, the Teal Pumpkin Project is a way to help make sure all kids feel included on Halloween night. 

By placing a teal pumpkin or pumpkins in front of your door on Halloween, you are letting kids and parents know that you are handing out alternative treats to candy, such as small toys.

"Bouncy balls, spiders, rubber fingers, if you want to get adventurous....the fidget spinners," said Nicole Steen, a mother of a 8 year old boy named Cash who is allergic to tree nuts. The Steen family lives in O'Fallon, Ill. and they put out teal pumpkins every year. 

Halloween is a 2-for-1 holiday for Cash, "because he was born on Halloween and he has the food allergy, it's just one of the holidays that means a lot to us," said Steen.

Cash cannot eat most candies because there are too many risks over which candies interacted with tree nuts.

"Anything that's in the same bag as other things that could contain nuts or even made in a facility that contains nuts...all of that's out," said Steen. "A lot of kids just don't get to go trick or treating because it's not worth the risk." 

Steen doesn't want to ever eliminate trick or treating for Cash, so each year she decorates their front steps with teal pumpkins and hands out flier about the Teal Pumpkin Project to educate others in her community about the importance of offering alternative treats to kids on Halloween. 

"Just putting the flier out that you have non-food items available serves it's purpose," said Steen. 

Steen says Cash's restrictions are not uncommon. Many kids are affected by food allergies.

"One in 13 kids has a food allergy, so that's approximately 2 in every classroom," said Steen. 

If you want to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, you can either paint pumpkins teal or find plastic teal pumpkins to purchase at Michael's Arts and Crafts, Target and Schnucks.

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