Breaking News
More () »

'Teal Pumpkin Project' helps protect kids with food allergies

Halloween is tricky for kids with food allergies because candy can be a dangerous trigger. The "Teal Pumpkin Project" is designed to make Halloween safer and more inclusive.

Orange and black aren't the only colors of Halloween.

Another color is making a surge as part of the "Teal Pumpkin Project," which is designed to make Halloween safer for kids with food allergies.

"When you put a teal pumpkin on your porch, you're signifying to families who don't want candy that you have other treats like glow sticks, stickers, tattoos," said Leah Robilotto, a mother of a child with food allergies who also works with FARE, the Food Allergy Research & Education organization.

Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta and the Home Depot on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Midtown Atlanta helped 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie organize a teal pumpkin painting party last week.

Luke Andrews, 8, said he plans to give out toys instead of candy on Halloween.

"So people who have allergies won't feel left out," said Luke, who's allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and dairy."

Food allergies are becoming more common, according to Dr. Brian Vickery, Director of the Food Allergy Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

"Food allergies affect an average of one in 13 kids, or about 8 percent of kids," Dr. Vickery explained.

He said the Teal Pumpkin Project can be a lifesaver.

"Food allergies can produce severe allergic reactions that happen rapidly and really with very small amounts of exposure," he added.

Halloween is tricky for kids with food allergies because candy can be a dangerous trigger.

Miles Robilotto, 8, said he has to avoid wheat, shellfish, dairy and eggs.

"How do you protect yourself," Jennifer asked.

"By carrying my EpiPen," he said.

If you're offering non-food treats on Halloween, you can add your address to a special map on the foodallergy.org website.

You can also search the map for allergy safe homes nearby.

"I think this is the coolest idea. I just learned about it and look forward to spreading the word," said Danny Watson of the Home Depot.

Luke's mother, Tracie Andrews, said the Teal Pumpkin Project is about including everyone.

"Food allergy kids feel left out a lot. It's not on purpose, but because food's a part of everyday life," Tracie explained. "This gives them an opportunity to enjoy Halloween just like all the other kids."

You don't have to paint a pumpkin to take part. You can buy one at many major retailers.

It's movement that's gaining momentum.

Before You Leave, Check This Out