By Jessica Kaiser
Halloween can truly be a nightmare for trick-or-treaters with food allergies.
But a new
trend has surfaced to make trick-or-treating more enjoyable for all children.
This Halloween, about 100,000 families across the nation are following the lead of the Teal Pumpkin Project by painting a pumpkin teal and placing it out for children and parents to know that the house is handing out non-food treats.
According to the Food Allergy Research and Education website, the project hopes to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.
“I think painting a pumpkin teal is a great idea,” freshman Victoria Sexton said. “It allows children with food allergies to no
t only participate in Halloween but to also enjoy the treats they receive.”
People started handing out non-food treats last year when the project began.
Examples of non-food treats are glow sticks, markers, bubbles, whistles, bouncy balls, vampire fangs, stickers, stencils and much more.
The project spread to all 50 states and seven countries around the world.
According to a crowd-sourced map on the project’s website, two houses in Franklin are participating, along with about 10 more homes within about a 30-minute driving distance.
“This creates such an easier night for the parents because they aren’t worried about candy or goodies that could potential harm their children due to allergies,” junior Laura Wilson said. “I also think it is a great idea to hand out non-edible items for Halloween due to the fact that there are many families that would prefer their children not have a ton of a junk food.”
Although Wilson said a few people in her hometown are participating in the project, she said she would’ve benefitted from the project trick-or-treating as a child.
“I am allergic to oranges,” Wilson said. “There’s a lot of sweets and candy that use natural orange flavoring, and I have to be careful to avoid those candies if I can.”
Biology professor Beth Stillabower said she thinks the project is a good idea, especially because it provides an alternative for handing out sugar.
Although Halloween is tomorrow, the project encourages individuals to keep spreading the word through social media by using #TealPumpkinProject.
“I had no idea [about the project],” Stillabower said. “It’s a good idea because I know a lot of people who have kids who have allergies. They go to houses, and they get candy, and then they have to go trade in all their candy for other things.”