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No trick: Teal Pumpkin Project can keep kids with food allergies safe for Halloween

Ah, Halloween: Ghosts and ghouls.





(Don’t forget walnuts, almonds and cashews, while you’re at it.)

For the kids who regularly deal with them, food allergies couldn’t be scarier — Halloween, or no.  

Just like Charlie Brown and his rocks, though, trick-or-treating isn’t much fun if you can’t eat what’s in your bag.

“One in 13 children in the U.S. has at least one food allergy,” Lois Witkop says, “and reports show that anaphylactic food reactions have risen dramatically.”

Witkop is chief advancement officer with Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), a nonprofit nutrition advocacy group in McLean, Va.

Anaphylactic reactions are those frightening onsets of wheezing, hives and swelling, brought on by what’s in the food we eat.

And in the Halloween candy our kids eat.

Every three minutes, a food allergy reaction such as the above sends a kid or an adult to the hospital emergency room, the organization reports.

And never mind the ER.

To date, there are 32 million Americans living with potentially life-threatening food allergies, FARE’s nutrition specialists say, with the regular treatments and medical appointments stacking up like the screams in a haunted house.

The organization has also chronicled a 377% increase in diagnosed anaphylactic reactions, in the nine years between 2007 and 2016.

Which is where those teal pumpkins come in.

This is the 10th year for FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project — and if you’re out with your kid on Halloween during trick-or-treating time and you see one of the signature-hued gourds on a porch, you’ll know you’re in an anaphylactic-safe zone.

You’ll know that, in addition to candy, said house will also have fun trinkets and other items to hand out, so everyone can take part in the fun.

To find out more, visit the Teal Pumpkin Project on the web or Facebook. You can access a map to show the houses in your neighborhood where those pumpkins will be.

There are even printable materials to advertise your participation if you want to be a Teal Pumpkin house, Witkop said.

“We would love to see at least one teal pumpkin on every block,” she said.

“It’s an opportunity for all of us to show empathy for those kids who often feel excluded.”

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