BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Food allergies are a lot more common than one might realize.

When it comes to Halloween, it might not be something people do not really think about when giving out candy.

“Food allergies are pretty common, especially among children,” said Ashlyn Hayes, registered dietician and health promotions specialist at McLean County Health Department, said. “More than one in thirteen children have a food allergy. It’s very likely that a child with a food allergy is going to knock on your door this Halloween.”

According to Food Allergy Research & Foundation, the Teal Pumpkin Project is a way to make trick-or-treating safer for those with allergies.

By placing a teal pumpkin near your doorstep, it shows those kids and parents that you are offering additional options for those with food allergies.

You may ask yourself, “What options do I have that kids will enjoy?”

Hayes said there are other food options as well as non-food options to give out this Halloween.

“You can stick with other food options,” said Hayes. “You can offer little snacks like pretzels, animal crackers, or you can offer fruit -whole fruit or even dried fruit like raisins or banana chips. Those options are still sweet, kids really like them. Those are healthier options food-wise. You can skip food altogether and you can offer little toys or trinkets, little stickers, even pencils. Kids might like those things, they’re different and they still get very excited about that kind of stuff.”

If you decide to be a part of the Teal Pumpkin Project, you can add your home to the map that the Food Allergy Research and Foundation website has so parents can plan places in your area to go trick-or-treating.

The Teal Pumpkin Project has a checklist for those who wish to partake in the project:

  • Get a Halloween costume
  • Get spooky decorations
  • Get a teal pumpkin to set outside
  • Get non-edible treats
  • Add your home to the teal pumpkin map
  • Spread the word about the Teal Pumpkin Project

To learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project, visit its website.

For other Halloween health tips, click here.