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Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness of food allergies during Halloween

Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 2:48 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Halloween is less than 2 weeks away, and for many children that means collecting buckets of candy.

However, the holiday can be spooky for children who have certain food allergies.

That’s why one woman advocates for the Teal Pumpkin Project. Shelby Dipilla owns “Beacon of Hope” in Ozark.

“I work with children with autism, and a lot of times they can have food sensitivities and allergies that come along with that,” Dipilla said.

The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages people to have non-food options on hand for kids who have allergies.

“What I have is just like a lot of different toys,” Dipilla said. "You know, you can use stuff like tattoos, stickers, slinkies, anything like that that those children who might have food sensitivities or allergies or just have candy so that can still have fun trick-or-treating.”

The intitiative is designed to promote inclusion and take the stress away from parent’s whose kids who are allergic to nut, wheat and other ingredients often found in candies.

The project can also limit behavioral issues caused by certain candies.

"Some of my clients are non-verbal, so just being aware of different things like that can make sure that everybody is able to have fun and participate,” Dipilla said.

Participation is easy: just put a teal-colored pumpkin on your porch to show that you have other treats available.

"There’s also no harm in going up to a home, saying ‘Do you have alternatives to this or do your treats contain this?’- especially when it comes a food allergy,” Dipilla said.

If you choose to participate, remember that kids can have latex and other non-food allergies.

You should also make sure to read labels carefully because candies may now have different ingredients than in the past.

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