Teal pumpkins a symbol of inclusion for trick-or-treaters with allergies

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Halloween is just days away and many people are getting ready with costumes, decorations, candy and more.

There’s a Halloween trend that’s gaining momentum and it’s an inclusive one to make sure all kids can participate. 

This time of year is filled with traditions, but for some families, trick-or-treating can be frustrating. That’s why preschool teacher Suzy Brophy wrote a book.

“She loved everything about Halloween. The silly costumes, the spooky Halloween music and even the scary decorations. Unfortunately, Macy wasn’t allowed to go trick-or-treating. She had food allergies, especially to tree nuts and dairy. Her mother said they could make her very sick and that most candy was just not safe for her to eat,” Brophy read from her book “Macy’s Teal Pumpkin“.  

It was inspired by one of her students who has severe allergies.

Brophy said, “I think it’s a great way to show that, you know, all kids are different and they all have different struggles. So this is just one way to kind of teach that.”

The teal pumpkin symbolizes a “safe spot” — where kids with allergies can trick-or-treat without worrying about an allergic reaction.

“So they don’t feel left out,” Brophy said.

A Norfolk chiropractor is also on a mission to spread the word.

Dr. Ainsley Hendon said, “It can be as simple as pencils, pens, erasers, glow sticks, stickers, anything that is just not food-based can be given out.”

This is the second year Hendon has given out teal pumpkins at her office.

“I love that it’s spreading, I love that more people are finding out about it,” Hendon said.  “I’m really excited to see where it goes in the next few years.”

She has a lot of patients with allergies and sensitivities and wanted to be an advocate. 

“So they can still go out and have a fun trick-or-treating experience without having the dangers of perhaps touching candy or food that they’re not supposed to and having a reaction,” said Dr. Hendon.

FARE, which stands for Food Allergy Research and Education, is behind the nation-wide initiative. It’s their goal to have as many teal pumpkins on porches as possible — so kids like Macy can enjoy Halloween. 

FARE has an online map which lists addresses with teal pumpkins. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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