Teal Pumpkin Project offers alternative to trick-or-treaters wit - FOX Carolina 21

Teal Pumpkin Project offers alternative to trick-or-treaters with food allergies

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Piersen Dowd, 4, suffers from food allergies. His teal pumpkin helps raise awareness about the problem. (FOX Carolina) Piersen Dowd, 4, suffers from food allergies. His teal pumpkin helps raise awareness about the problem. (FOX Carolina)
People who paint their pumpkin teal are basically telling trick-or-treaters with food allergies that their home is a safe place to get goodies (FOX Carolina) People who paint their pumpkin teal are basically telling trick-or-treaters with food allergies that their home is a safe place to get goodies (FOX Carolina)

Ask any kid, and they will most likely tell you their favorite part about Halloween is all the candy they get. 

Case in point: 4-year-old Piersen Dowd of Greer. 

"My favorite thing to do at Halloween is to get candy," said Dowd, who admitted even though he loves the candy, he knows he can't eat much of it. 

Dowd's mother said he has severe food allergies.

"He's allergic to nuts and sunflower seeds and eggs, and he's also intolerant to gluten and dairy," said Emilie Dowd. "His mouth and airway would probably swell up so much that it would close and he wouldn't be able to breathe."

Dowd said last year, her son was unable to enjoy most of his Halloween loot. 

"That was pretty tough to see," she said. 

But look closely at the Dowds' Halloween decorations, and you'll notice a strange sort of pumpkin. It's teal. 

"You paint one of your pumpkins teal and put it on your porch, and that tells people that you  have non-food items available to Trick or Treaters," said Dowd. 

It's called The Teal Pumpkin Project, started two years ago by a mother in Tennessee. The goal of the project is to raise awareness about food allergies, and promote more inclusion for kids who suffer from them, especially on Halloween. People who paint their pumpkins teal are telling kids they offer non-food items like toys or other fun things in lieu of candy. 

Even dieticians like Brooke Simpson at Bon Secours St. Francis in Greenville are getting in on the trend. Simpson has a teal pumpkin in her office. 

"Most of the candy that is passed out on Halloween contains one of the top eight food allergens," said Simpson, who added that there are a choice few candies usually safe to eat for kids with allergies. 

Dowd said having a child with food allergies can be nerve-wracking, but she hopes things like The Teal Pumpkin Project take off, so that she can have more peace of mind on Halloween. 

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