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Teal Pumpkin Project puts on Trunk-or-Treat for kids with food allergies

Halloween is a time for kids to get dressed up, hit the streets and gets some candy. But what about those with severe food allergies? Tired of taking her daughter’s candy, one mom decided to do something about it.

“It’s not fun at all when you have to take their candy,” Brittani Oplinger, whose daughter has food allergies, said. “And for these kids trick-or-treating, I mean Halloween is all about candy, it’s all about trick-or-treating, so they just lose that whole holiday. And that was heartbreaking to see as a mom. I’m like, I can’t do that to my daughter.”

Oplinger reached out on Facebook and found a group called the Teal Pumpkin Project. The mission: putting a teal pumpkin on your porch when offering non-food goodies to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. But, Oplinger still didn’t think this was enough.

“We thought, well, if one house is good, then a trunk-or-treat is better,” Oplinger said. “And so we wanted to get a group of everybody going so that kids could come and just have an event and not have to drive all around Idaho Falls looking for that one teal pumpkin that might be in a neighborhood, maybe.”

The group decided to put on a trunk-or-treat on Halloween in the southeast parking lot of the Grand Teton Mall in Idaho Falls. Instead of candy, they’ll be offering items such as toys, coloring books and more. They got donations not only from families but businesses in the community as well. Their goal: give kids a fun Halloween and raise awareness about the dangers of food allergies.

“To be more inclusive when it comes to holidays, especially Halloween,” Meshelle Woods, whose son has a deadly peanut allergy, said. “You know, there might be a child who reaches into your bucket and hesitates. Maybe there’s something that he can’t have or maybe he’s on the autism spectrum or maybe he’s looking for something that’s a better option for him. Just try to be more inclusive.”

The trunk-or-treat takes place on Halloween from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. If you are offering non-food items to kids, place a teal pumpkin on your porch to show those with food allergies are welcome.

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