CENTRAL TEXAS - Get your costumes ready, Halloween is less than a week away. And as many start stocking up on candy, one Austin family is hoping you'll stock up on something else this year, candy alternatives.
According to the Center for Disease Control, from 1997 to 2011 food allergies among children went up about 50 percent. That's about one out of every 13 children affected.
“No Kit-Kats, no Reece’s pieces....none of that,” said 9-year-old Ian Olmeyer.
Ian has food allergies; he is one of 15 million Americans who has it.
Since the age of one, Ian hasn't been able to eat anything that contains peanuts or egg, which can cut out a lot of options when out trick-or-treating.
That's why the Teal Pumpkin Project is so important to families. It's a nationwide project that helps bring food allergy awareness by substituting candy with other items, like toys.
All you have to do is paint your pumpkin teal to show your home is food allergy safe. It’s something Ian’s mother, Kati does every year.
"No one has to take away from the fun of Halloween so having that option for non-food treats just makes them feel so included,” Olmeyer said.
It’s an initiative allergy doctor Douglas Barstow fully stands behind.
"It's made a huge difference in reducing the accidental exposure that children can have to foods which can be out of your control,” Dr. Barstow said.
The project website says last year, households from all 50 states and 14 countries participated.
To learn more, click here.
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