Teal Pumpkin Project provides safe treats for children with allergies

Teal Pumpkin Project provides safe treats for children with allergies

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Every year, children with food allergies end up with far less candy than their friends, but a nationwide campaign is aiming to change this.

This Halloween, there is a way to make sure all trick-or-treaters will return home bags full of goodies.

It's known as the Teal Pumpkin Project, started by the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). Pumpkins colored with teal paint are placed on doorsteps to indicate that children with allergies can get safe treats there.

This comes as a big relief for Tina Criado, a mother from Lubbock. Halloween is scary for her, not because of costumes or decorations, but because her daughter Ariana has a deadly nut allergy.

Ariana is five years old and a loves to play dress-up, but Halloween is often frustrating for her.

"She cannot touch nothing until we get home," Tina said. "We actually go through the whole bag."

Ariana had her first allergic reaction at age two.

"She was actually eating pecans and stopped breathing on us," Tina said, "We had to rush her to the emergency room. That's when we started to see allergy specialists. It was something that I would never want to see anybody go through."

So while Ariana's candy bag may seem full at the end of Halloween, she can only keep a little of it.

"There's very little left," Tina said. "She only has maybe a good handful after we go through everything. She still gets sad because she can't have as much as her cousins or her friends once she was done trick or treating."

But this year, teal pumpkins on doorsteps mean there are plenty of safe treats for kids like Ariana.

"That is awesome that they are actually coming together for kids with allergies," Tina said. "It's not just my daughter. There are other kids out there that do have allergies."

Five-year-old Cason Fisher, also lives in Lubbock and is deathly allergic to milk, eggs and peanuts and fish. He has already painted a pumpkin and his mother, Amee Fisher, said this project is a dream come true.

Tina hopes that Lubbock citizens will take this issue seriously and participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project to help spread allergy awareness across the South Plains this Halloween.

"The slightest thing of peanuts can get a kid sick, even if it's just a little bitty one - that can kill my daughter," she said. "It could kill another little kid, and we want to avoid all of those as much as we possibly can. Just support a good cause, and have treats out there that every kid can enjoy, not just certain kids."

Amee suggests safe treats for the Teal Pumpkin project like pretzels, Play-Doh, Silly Bandz, sticky bugs and other Halloween toys.

Some candy items that Tina said children such as Ariana can enjoy are Fun Dip, Smarties, Nerds, Life Savers, Dum Dums lollipops, and all the Tootsie Roll products.

For more information about the Teal Pumpkin Project, visit: http://www.kcbd.com/story/26851165/the-teal-pumpkin-project

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