Teal Pumpkin Project lights the way to a safer Halloween

Treats, no tricks with 'Teal Pumpkin Project'

METAIRIE, La. - Teal is starting to be the new color of Halloween. That's because more people are putting blue-colored pumpkins on their doorstep. You may not know it, but there's an important message that goes along with them.

For many, Halloween is spooktacular! However, for children with allergies, it's a night filled with fright. Like for 6-year-old, Annelise Cotaya, who can't tough peanuts or she'll end up in the hospital.

"One of the scary things with peanut allergies is you have to experience it to find out how your child is going to react," said her mother Linzy Cotaya. "My child has just topically touched peanuts and reacted."

So when it comes to trick or treating, it can be a challenge.

"I always say, 'Do you have peanuts? And then they might say yes or no,'" said Annelise.

"It's really hard for her to understand why she can't have what other kids have and it's also really hard in the chaos of Halloween to be running after her and checking her bucket to see what's in there."

An estimated 1 in 13 children in the United States has a food allergy. With that number rising, something is being done. It's a nationwide initiative that's helping those with severe food allergies get more treats than tricks this Halloween. It's called the Teal Pumpkin Project and those who participate display a teal pumpkin.

Kids with allergies who see that pumpkin on someone's doorstep knows they're in the clear.

"The Teal Pumpkin Project is really just an alternative to food," said Cotaya. "It can be stickers, bubbles, sunglasses, light up bracelets."

Edibles can be given, but Cotaya says you have to check all labels. One tub of food she showed Eyewitness News had a label that read 'Made in a Peanut-free facility.'

The initiative lets everyone celebrate.

"For us Halloween is such a scary day and the 'Teal Pumpkin Project' is helping to make it a little more safe," said Cotaya.

Including Annelise, who's chomping at the bit for some fun.

"Because I get to go trick-or-treating," she said.

For more information on the Teal Pumpkin Project, go here. Another local resource for parents is the New Orleans Moms Blog.


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