Speed Reads

A scary-good idea

Teal pumpkins will signal a safe Halloween stop for kids with food allergies

Little ghouls and goblins are preparing to hit the neighborhoods in just two weeks, trick-or-treat bags at the ready. But for children with food allergies, Halloween can be a depressing — not to mention dangerous — time. Imagine showing up at house after house, only to have to pass on candy made with peanuts, or milk, or other common allergens. Now that's a scary thought.

So, a family in Tennessee began painting a pumpkin on their front porch teal — the color of food-allergy awareness — to signal to other trick-or-treaters that it was a safe stop.

"It was a great way to reach out to our neighbors," Becky Basalone told the Chicago Tribune. And, "it empowered my children, who were so willing to explain to people why we had a teal pumpkin."

The practice has since picked up steam across the nation; a Virginia-based group, Food Allergy Research & Education, is promoting it as The Teal Pumpkin Project. Families who plan to participate say they will hand out alternative goodies such as spider rings, stickers, or temporary tattoos.