Teal Pumpkins in Naperville

Unable to Participate

Halloween is usually all about the candy but for some kids it’s not always a treat.

“Children who have food allergies can’t really enjoy Halloween because it’s pretty dangerous. And for parents it’s really easier to keep them home than to take away a ton of candy – that’s not fun either,” explained Stephanie Benesh, a resident of the Brookdale neighborhood.

That led Benesh and her neighbor to find a way for her daughter, who has a severe food allergy, to participate in the holiday.

The Teal Pumpkin Project

“So the food allergy awareness community began The Teal Pumpkin Project that allows us to offer non-traditional treats to those children who have these food sensitivities or allergies, or just people who don’t want a ton of candy,” said Benesh. “They are little trinkets. So maybe fangs or witches’ fingers, or stickers or bouncy balls – whatever those non-food items are.”

Brookdale’s Pumpkins

And now teal pumpkins are popping up all over the Brookdale neighborhood.

“So that was three years ago and we started with a few houses,” she added. “And now we’ve grown our map to over 63 last year, and I think we’re projected for about 75 people to participate this year.”

Growing the Reach

Benesh’s neighbor has even created a Google map that pinpoints all the homes participating. They share it with other community groups in the western suburbs so more kids can go trick-or-treating.

“We had five families from outside of Naperville, three travelled from as far as Rockford, because their kids have never been able to trick or treat,” said Benesh.

Making it a treat for every child to have fun on Halloween.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.

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