SARATOGA SPRINGS — Have you ever seen teal-colored pumpkins placed in front of houses during this time of year? While a typical pumpkin is orange, yellow, or even green, the teal ones carry a special meaning.
“Trick or treat, no peanuts please,” Mitch Odell says.
The teal pumpkins are especially important to 3-year-old Mitch Odell, who has a severe peanut allergy. For Mitch, even contact with peanuts or items made in facilities with peanuts will cause a reaction.
“The gloves are so that he doesn’t touch anything with peanuts. So, it’s on his gloves and not his hands,” Mitch’s mom, Amy Odell, says of Mitch’s Incredible Hulk Halloween costume.
In 2014, Food Allergy Research & Education created “The Teal Pumpkin Project” to encourage people to put teal pumpkins outside their door to indicate that they are giving out non-food treats such as stickers, glow sticks, or small toys to children on Halloween night.
When speaking of trick-or-treating, Amy Odell says, “Trick-or-treating is actually really scary now. It’s one of the hardest days of the year because everything has peanuts. Peanut butter is everywhere, and on Halloween you want to be the ‘Reese’s house,’ but it’s dangerous for Mitch and can cause him to go to the hospital and even risk his own life.”
“The Teal Pumpkin Project” is valuable to families like the Odells because it provides their kids with an opportunity to get treats during trick-or-treating that they can actually use and that won’t make them sick. Many stores such as Target have jumped on board, providing easy access to find non-food treats on their website and by selling teal-colored pumpkins.
The Odells and F.A.R.E. want to encourage everyone to take part in “The Teal Pumpkin Project” so that everyone can have a positive Halloween season. To find participating teal pumpkin houses near you, you can go to foodallergy.org.