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Teal pumpkins raise food allergy awareness

WORTHINGTON -- This Halloween, several Worthington businesses will display teal-painted pumpkins in their storefronts. The special pumpkins signify that the store has non-food treats available for children with food allergies.

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Jennifer Solt, owner of Threads and Decor, is spearheading the Teal Pumpkin Project in Worthington. (Karl Evers-Hillstrom / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON - This Halloween, several Worthington businesses will display teal-painted pumpkins in their storefronts. The special pumpkins signify that the store has non-food treats available for children with food allergies.

 

It’s part of a national campaign from the nonprofit Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) - called the Teal Pumpkin Project - to raise awareness about food allergies and make kids feel more comfortable while trick-or-treating.

 

Jennifer Solt, owner of Threads and Decor, is leading the effort in Worthington. She’s been busy painting pumpkins and distributing them to interested businesses - eight local businesses have already agreed to place a teal pumpkin in their storefront and offer non-food treats to trick-or-treaters - and Solt is still trying to get more on board.

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“It’s really just for a safer, happier Halloween for the kids,” Solt said.

 

Food allergies send someone to the emergency room every three minutes. For trick-or-treaters with allergies to peanuts or dairy, Halloween is scary for all the wrong reasons.

 

Solt herself has celiac disease, while her son Aden has an unidentified condition that gives his stomach trouble when eating certain foods. Though Aden can eat Halloween candy, Solt felt it was appropriate that local businesses use their platform to raise exposure about food allergies.

 

“As a business owner, I think it’s a way we can show our presence and our value in the community is more than just the products we sell,” Solt said.

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Instead of candy, Solt will be handing out pencils, stickers and bouncy balls. She said some other good ideas include temporary tattoos, erasers, crayons, bubbles, notebooks, noisemakers and bracelets.

 

“You can buy anything that’s sold in party favors,” Solt said. “It’s really cheaper than buying candy.”

 

Solt also wants local residents to paint their pumpkins teal and offer non-food treats to their neighbors. It’s easy to get involved - just print out a poster from tealpumpkinproject.org and give it to a friend or family member.

 

Those interested in getting involved locally can call Threads and Decor at 360-6470 or find the event on the Threads and Decor Facebook page .

 

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Threads and Decor will be handing out treats to kids with costumes from open to close this Halloween. So far, The Daily Apple, Brown's Shoe Fit Co., Serenity Gifts, Lit’l Wizards, Fairytale Formal & More Consignment, Top Asian Food and the Worthington Chamber of Commerce are participating as well.

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