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Candy Alternatives Sought For Teal Pumpkin Project
Sitting by the Teal Pumpkin that signifies his home has candy alternatives for Halloween for kids with food allergies, 4-year-old Devin Berchtold is dealing with severe food allergies himself on a daily basis. Homes displaying the teal pumpkins on Halloween offer the non-candy options. Marg Jackson/The Leader

With Halloween coming up next week, a local effort is hoping to get some area residents to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project. The goal is to offer non-candy items, helping make Halloween safe for young trick-or-treaters with food allergies.

The project is a nationwide effort that last year was done in all 50 states and 14 countries. The idea is simple, placing a teal pumpkin at your home to signify that you have treats specifically for those with allergies.

“Teal represents the color of food allergy awareness,” explained Danielle Berchtold of Escalon, whose four-year-old son Devin has severe food allergies. “The project encourages people to place a teal-painted pumpkin outside their door to show they are offering non-food treats such as stickers, small toys, crayons, etc. Families who are managing other diseases for which candy presents a problem, such as diabetes and celiac disease, have also shown great support.”

With many children having some sort of food allergy – whether to milk, peanuts or any of a number of other items – Berchtold said the effort is designed to let young Halloween trick or treaters still enjoy going out and collecting ‘treats’ on that night.

“Halloween is extra scary for a child with food allergies and their parents,” she admitted.


Originally started in Tennessee, the Teal Pumpkin Project is supported by FARE, the Food Allergy Research & Education organization.