Teal Pumpkin Project helping those with food allergies enjoy Halloween

A uniquely-painted pumpkin is helping kids with food allergies safely enjoy the Halloween season.

The Teal Pumpkin Project was launched as a way to mark houses that are “allergy safe” — meaning instead of candy, they hand out things like stickers, glow sticks or toys.

With about 10 percent of kids across the country having some kind of food allergy, local allergist Dr. Chet Tharp says offering non-food items means everyone can feel included in the trick-or-treating fun.

“Nobody wants to feel left out or feel they can’t do the same things that the others can do,” said Tharp. “It’s not only the child, it’s the family as well. As a parent, you feel bad when your kid can’t participate in the same things that the others can.”

Tharp says items like Legos, pencils and markers, or bubbles can also be fun substitutes for candy for trick-or-treaters.