Show awareness of food allergies with a teal pumpkin this Halloween


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  • Chloe Guerrera, a junior at Monroe-Woodbury High School, hopes to spread awareness about the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) organization during the Halloween season to help those kids with food challenges.




  • The Teal Pumpkin Project “encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies,” while promoting “inclusions of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season” by providing non-food treats and placing a teal pumpkin outside your home.




By Christine Urio

— Halloween is synonymous with mini candy bars, pumpkin shaped cookies, and yes, food allergy scares.

All the sweet goodies costumed children collect on Halloween can be especially difficult for kids who have food allergies.

Chloe Guerrera, a junior at Monroe-Woodbury High School, is a teen advisor with the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) organization which provides information and raises awareness toward those living with food allergies. She hopes to spread awareness about FARE during the Halloween season to help those kids with food challenges.

“I've been involved with this organization since I was diagnosed with a peanut allergy when I was four,” she said. “I applied for the teen advisory group two years ago once I was eligible and have been a part of it ever since.”

Non-food treatsThrough her work with the organization, she is a major proponent of the Teal Pumpkin Project, which, according to the FARE website, “encourages people to raise awareness of food allergies,” while promoting “inclusions of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season” by providing non-food treats and placing a teal pumpkin outside your home.

“It helps to include children with food allergies on a day that can be difficult for them,” said Guerrera.

The FARE site states that the project was inspired by a local awareness activity in Tennessee which was promoting messages of awareness, inclusion and community.

Teal - the color of food allergy awareness“This initiative started in 2014 as a local way to raise awareness by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) and grew to become a national program after FARE picked up on it,” Guerrera said.

Pumpkins are painted in teal, which is the color of food allergy awareness, and is the nationally recognized color of this medical condition.

“People who can benefit from this initiative include children with common food allergies, as well as children with other food sensitivities,” she said. “Anybody involved can benefit from the feeling of knowing that they're helping their community.”

Food allergies can be tricky to deal with normally, but become increasingly difficult around Halloween.

“Food allergies can be life-threatening and even a small amount can make a person have a reaction,” said Guerrera. “Many popular candies include the common food allergens of peanuts, tree nuts, soy, eggs, milk, or wheat, and besides that, the small sized candies often given out during Halloween do not usually have ingredients on them and, there is too much of a risk for children with food allergies to eat that candy without knowing what's in it.”

Due to the serious effects that can arise from food allergies, Guerrera feels this is an important cause.

“It is respectful to children who've been affected by food allergies that are out of their control, and allows them to feel included on Halloween,” she said.

A sense of communityFurther, the Teal Pumpkin Project also helps to build a sense of community.

“Participating in this really helps more children of the community feel included in a fun holiday tradition,” Guerrera said.

To become involved in this project is really quite simple.

“All people need to do is have a teal pumpkin or sign outside their door to show they have non-edible treats (such as little toys or glow sticks) as an alternative to candy, or in addition to candy they're already handing out available for children with food allergies,” she said.

Essential informationFor more information, visit: https://www.foodallergy.org/education-awareness/teal-pumpkin-project/faqs, or Twitter and Instagram @FoodAllergy, and Facebook @FoodAllergyFARE.

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