Armonk residents raise awareness about Teal Pumpkin Project ahead of Halloween
Trick-or-treating is a cherished American past time, but for kids with food allergies or dietary restrictions, it's a holiday activity full of fear and disappointment.
Some Armonk residents are working to make the holiday more inclusive.
"I know that Halloween for me was one of my favorite holidays as a child so it makes me really upset that so many kids can't enjoy it," said Harli Rappaport, Byram Hills High School student.
Rappaport developed dietary allergies toward dairy and gluten two years ago and discovered how restrictive it can be.
She started the Food Allergy Awareness Club at her school, Byram Hills High School.
"It’s important the people understand what people with allergies are going through," she said.
This is the second year the club is helping collect donated non-food items at Houlihan Lawrence in Armonk.
The collection drive is part of the national campaign the Teal Pumpkin Project, which raises food allergy awareness and makes trick or treating more inclusive.
Homeowners are encouraged to simply place a teal pumpkin on your doorstep to signal, in addition to candy, you offer non-food treats that are safe for all trick or treaters.
The items should be kept separate from food and candy items.
Michelle Isban began bringing awareness to the campaign several years ago as the mother of a child with severe peanut allergies.
"It could be deadly for her," she said speaking about her daughter's food allergy. "God forbid she touches it and then touches her face or touches her mouth she could have anaphylactic reaction."
Armonk now has food allergy "Halloween zones" which include a portion of school street and new this year, the Whippoorwill Hills development.
Donated items will be separated and delivered to participating homes to be given out on Halloween night.
"My goal is to get other communities to not only do teal pumpkins at their house, but also the community, so if there is a street or a Halloween zone, get the community to do a collection so the child cannot skip houses," said Isban.