This is why ‘Teal Pumpkins’ are popping up in your neighborhood

MOLINE, Illinois - Teal pumpkins are popping up on porches around the country, including here in the Quad Cities.

The pumpkins serve as a signal to children who want to participate in trick-or-treating, but suffer from a food allergy.

Every year, thousands of kids dress up in their costumes and head out for Halloween fun, but have their night ruined when the candy they receive contains ingredients that they are allergic to.

"About 1 in 13 children in the US has a food allergy, so we've got a lot of kids who can't participate in Trick or Treating." said Registered Dietitian Chrissy Watters, who works for Hy-Vee.

That's why Hy-Vee and dietitians around the country are encouraging homes to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project.

The project encourages homes to buy a handful of non-food gifts, like coloring books or small toys, to give to children who say they have a food allergy.

If parents see a teal pumpkin sitting on a front porch, it signals to them that their child can get a special treat, without being at risk of having a allergic reaction to candy.

Hy-Vee is currently selling $1 gifts and teal pumpkins, hoping that more people will participate in this project.

"You don't have to have one of these for every trick-or-treater," said Watters.  "Just a small bowl with like five of your non-food items, and then a separate bowl for the candy. Then, when that child with the food allergy comes up and says, 'Hey! I saw that you have a teal pumpkin, I'm here for the non-food treats, 'you can pull that out that bowl for that child."

You can check and see if anyone in your neighborhood is participating in the teal pumpkin project, or register your own home by clicking HERE.