CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — Halloween is just a few days away, and whether you’re handing out candy at home or out with the kids, you might see some colorful pumpkins.
In this week’s Mom Hacks, we spoke with Dr. Stephen Smart, an allergist at Springfield Clinic, about food allergies and what people can do this Halloween to make it enjoyable for all children.
Smart said the most common food allergies are egg, milk, wheat, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts. He said one in 13 children in the U.S. has a food allergy.
“There’s actually been about a tripling to a quadrupling of the diagnoses over a 15-year period,” he said.
The chances are, one of these kids lives around your neighborhood.
“For [kids with food allergies] them, it’s hard because no matter where they go, or what they do, there’s always this stress about accidentally running into that food protein,” Smart said.
As part of the nationwide initiative, called the Teal Pumpkin Project, this Halloween anyone can place a teal-colored pumpkin on their doorstep, which signals that in addition to candy, they offer non-food trinkets and treats that are safe for all trick-or-treaters.
“Little balls, you know the old vampire teeth, little rings of spiders, pencils, or erasers,” Smart said. “Often things like Nerds, or Smarties, or various hard candies like Dum-Dum lollipops, they’re not known to have any allergens.”
In addition to teal pumpkins, be on the lookout for blue pumpkins, which can signify that the child is on the autism spectrum and may not be able to verbalize the words “trick-or-treat.”