Halloween is just a few weeks away and thousands of kids are getting ready to go door-to-door looking for some candy. But not all kids get to enjoy Halloween due to food allergies.

According to Food Allergies Research and Education (FARE) one in 13 kids has some type of food allergy, which can become deadly during holidays such as Halloween. "The candy that they are receiving, they can't have it. It is a bummer for them to have stuff in their bag that could kill them," says Aaron Hess. Hess and his family have spent the past few years painting pumpkins teal and giving them out to the community during Halloween for the Teal Pumpkin Project.

The Teal Pumpkin Project is pretty simple - you put out a teal pumpkin in front of your home to let families know that not only do you have candy you also have something else to give out for children with food allergies, such as a small toy, stickers or coloring books. The Hess family has two children with severe food allergies, which made Halloween for them unenjoyable. "He was saying 'no nuts please' and people were throwing Snickers bars into his bag and it sounds like it isn't a big deal but it took the light out of his eyes," says Erin Hess, mother of Tyson and Preston Hess. 

After that night Erin and Aaron Hess decided that something needed to be done, so they decided to paint pumpkins teal and hand them out to the community. "If we try to spread it in our community maybe our kids could enjoy Halloween like normal kids," says Erin. 

Since starting the project the Hess children have been able to enjoy Halloween. "It went from the most scary holiday to one of the most magical," says Erin. 

"I feel happy that they are trying to have stuff we can have and toys we can play with instead of stuff we can't eat," says Tyson Hess. 

Each year the Hess family creates over 400 teal pumpkins. On October 27th they will be handing them out at Andelin Farms, there are also some available right now at the Raley's in Wingfield Springs. 

If you would like to participate you can print out a Teal Pumpkin Project flier to put on your door here: https://www.foodallergy.org/education-awareness/teal-pumpkin-project

Or pick up a teal pumpkin or create your own. 

The Hess family also invites you and your family to come trick-or-treating in their neighborhood, dozens of homes will be participating in the project, this is off Vista Boulevard and Passage Drive. 

Ideas for non-food treats:

  • Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
  • Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
  • Bubbles
  • Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
  • Mini Slinkies
  • Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
  • Bouncy balls
  • Finger puppets or novelty toys
  • Coins
  • Spider rings
  • Vampire fangs
  • Mini notepads
  • Playing cards
  • Bookmarks
  • Stickers
  • Stencils