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Have kids with allergies? Look for teal pumpkins this Halloween

(Teal Pumpkin Project Photo)

PHOENIX — If you have kids with allergies, don’t fret this Halloween — just look for porches with teal pumpkins when trick-or-treating.

Popularized by the nonprofit Food Allergy Research and Education, the Teal Pumpkin Project aims to allow kids with allergies to have a safe and fun holiday.

People who want to participate in the project choose a non-food item to hand out to trick-or-treaters, then place a teal pumpkin outside to signal they are an allergy-friendly household.

“Instead of just having sweet treats and potential foods that can cause allergies in kids, (the project is) an idea to give kids some other type of treat, such as an action figure or a toy or even a toothbrush, which seems ironic on a day of sweets,” Dr. Terry Simpson told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

The project’s website includes a long list of potential giveaway items. It recommends avoiding prizes like moldable clay, which can contain wheat, as well as any items containing latex.

According to the website, households with teal pumpkins can still hand out food items, but they should keep candy in a bowl separate from the non-food items.

Common allergies include peanuts and dyes, so it’s a good idea to avoid those ingredients if you are giving out candy, Simpson said.

If you just can’t do trick-or-treating without chocolate, Simpson recommended buying treats with 70 percent cocoa, as dark chocolate tends to be healthier and more allergy-friendly than regular chocolate.

“Kids get plenty of sweets as it is, and all of that sugar isn’t necessarily a great thing for them,” he said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bob McClay contributed to this report. 

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