REHOBOTH, Mass. (WPRI) — For children with severe food allergies, trick-or-treating on Halloween can an isolating, even dangerous experience.
Dawn McGuire of Rehoboth knows this well. Her seven-year-old son Mason is allergic to nuts, eggs and milk. She has to monitor everything he eats.
“You become a nervous wreck. We have have to check the ingredients on every single package,” McGuire said.
She says Halloween in particular is different for her son than for other kids.
“In their bucket, if they have an open thing of Reeses Pieces and I know that it’s been touching the candy that they’re passing out, that’s dangerous for him,” McGuire said.
Doctor Alan Gaines is an allergist and immunologist. He says it’s not just an inconvenience, it’s a life threatening issue, adding, “food allergies have become more prevalent over the last couple of decades.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says between 1997 and 2011 the prevalence of food allergies in children increased by fifty percent.
But as food allergies are on the rise, so are iniatives such as the Teal Pumpkin Project.
“You place a teal pumpkin by your door and you just offer nonfood treats,” Dr. Gaines said.
“People like my son, when you’re out trick-or-treating, and you find a house that has that teal pumpkin, it means a lot, it really does,” McGuire said.
Mason’s older sister Molly agrees saying, “that would just mean so much to him, like seeing one would just be like oh my god mom look, like I can actually have something there you know, like I can actually keep that.”
“That’s my goal, is to kind of make it more aware,” McGuire said.
To make your Halloween allergy friendly, and learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project right now on their website.