PEYTON — Halloween is a night centered around candy, but for those with food allergies, the holiday can be tricky to navigate.
One neighborhood in Peyton is part of a special initiative bringing inclusivity to trick-or-treating. Around 50 neighbors are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, giving children non-food options when going door-to-door on Halloween night. People can show their support by putting a teal-colored pumpkin on their doorstep to show families there are options other than candy, like stickers, bubbles, and other toys.
Tauni Combs had the idea to bring the project to the neighborhood after her niece with food allergies struggled during the holiday.
"That first Halloween with her like it, it was honestly awful. My sister is going through all this candy and she had like five things that she could eat," Combs said. "Everybody has all this candy and she's got five pieces."
Combs decided to reach out to neighbors to ask them to participate in the project. After a large response, she made a map of houses participating in the area for families.
Elizabeth Albers, who lives in the same neighborhood, has a son and a daughter with allergies. She said holidays, especially Halloween, are very stressful for her family.
"Thinking about the holidays just became really overwhelming to us as a family. What I found was when we were trick or treating, there weren't very many options for her," Albers said.
She said since Halloween is centered around candy, it's hard to give her kids the same experience as everyone else.
"It's not even necessarily about the candy. It's the act of being with their peers and walking through the neighborhood and saying trick or treat and then being able to get something," she said.
With the Teal Pumpkin Project in their neighborhood, Combs and Albers both agree there is more awareness of the reality their loved ones face.
You can register your home to be a part of the Teal Pumpkin Project for next Halloween here.
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