What this teal pumpkin means for your kids this Halloween

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LEWISBURG, Pa. -- According to an allergy specialist near Lewisburg, one in 13 children has a food allergy. That can be difficult around this time of year when kids have trick-or-treating on their minds.

But there is an initiative to help kids with food allergies on Halloween.

There are bright orange pumpkins everywhere during this time of the year. They are on people's porches and front yards for Halloween. But among the sea of orange, why are there teal pumpkins on some porches?

According to Dr. Nathan Hare with Allergy Partners of Lewisburg, it's part of the Teal Pumpkin Project. The idea behind it is to raise awareness about food allergies.

"The idea there is you would be having non-food treats for kids with food allergies so they hopefully don't have any kind of reaction," Dr. Hare said.

Download a flyer here.

Dr. Hare says if you see a teal pumpkin on someone's porch, it is a safe place for children with food allergies to trick or treat. That's good news for Josh Zimmerman of Mifflinburg. His son Issac is severely allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. He says trick or treating is stressful.

"When he was younger, we used to go around ahead of time to the houses he would trick or treat at, put a nice little dinosaur sticker on the bag. He would knock and ask for safe treats that we would provide ahead of time," Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman calls the Teal Pumpkin Project a blessing.

"Trying to tell someone so young they can't go trick or treating when all their friends are doing it, it's just a killer. Have that nice little teal pumpkin out or a poster letting you know it's safe, terrific."

"The top three food allergies are milk, egg, and peanut. It also includes seafood, tree nuts, wheat, and soy," said Dr. Hare.

Katie Gutenkauf of Mifflinburg has a teal pumpkin on her front porch.

"Just the idea to make everyone feel included. If you have a food allergy and you're going trick or treating, those might not go together, so this way everyone can go," she said.

The Teal Pumpkin Project started last year and Dr. Hare hopes to see more allergy-friendly houses each year.

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