GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Allergy will host a trick or treat open house for children and parents with food allergies Tuesday night.
The event aims to, create a safer, happier Halloween for all.
“That’s our goal, people sometimes don’t realize that one in every 13 children have a food allergy,” Christine Schafer MD of Allergy Immunology said. “By hosting this event, we give children and their parents a fun time to understand halloween isn’t just about candy and sweets.”
Those who attend the free event will be given goodie bags filled with halloween themed trinkets and parents will be able to speak with specialized dietitians about the nutritional needs of children who can’t eat certain foods along with behavioral therapists who will talk to children about the emotional side of food allergies.
There will also be specialists on hand to teach parents and children how to use epi pens.
On top of that, they’ll speak about teal pumpkins.
“Teal is the color of food allergy awareness,” Schafer said. “These pumpkins mark allergy safe homes on Halloween because Halloween should be fun, and fun for all. So how wonderful to be able to offer non food treats.”
The Teal Pumpkin Project was created by a mother whose children have food allergies and can’t eat typical Halloween treats. The brightly colored pumpkins let parent and children with allergies know the home offers safe options.
“You can have both, you can still have candy, but then you can offer non food treats like pencils and stickers and glo sticks and just trinkets,” Schafer said. “Just little toys for the kids to come home, so these children come home with a bucket full of treats.”
Schafer says the project has been embraced by the community and the country as a whole, she think’s part of the reason is how easy it is to sign up and participate.
“You can sign up on TealPumpkinProject .org to sign your house up to be an allergy safe home,” Schafer said. “It couldn’t be easier to be inclusive for food allergies, if you don’t have a yard sign or you don’t have a pumpkin. You can print signs that you can put in your window. So it’s really easy for everyone can participate.”
Children are encouraged to come in costume to Tuesday’s event at Grand Rapids Allergy located at 970 Parchment Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.