Many American children with food allergies will look for teal pumpkins on doorsteps this Halloween. The unusually colored pumpkins are meant to signal that the home has allergen-free items for trick-or-treaters.

Erik Geier, 5, poses with a teal pumpkin that will be displayed outside his family's Elkhart, Ind., home for Halloween. (Brandi Puntney Kucenski/The Elkhart Truth via Associated Press)

It's part of a new initiative from Food Allergy Research & Education, called the Teal Pumpkin Project.

Participating households are supposed to have non-edible treats on hand for kids who might not be able to eat many popular and traditional candies. Organizers suggest items such as glow sticks, spider rings, playing cards and stickers as acceptable substitutes.

The campaign is being organized by FARE, a food allergy advocacy organization that is distributing a couple of versions of posters designed to explain the campaign.

"The Teal Pumpkin Project is designed to promote safety, inclusion and respect of individuals managing food allergies – and to keep Halloween a fun, positive experience for all," the organization says on its Web site.

"Food allergies can be life-threatening, and they affect one in 13 children in the U.S.," Veronica LaFemina, vice president of communications with FARE, told Reuters. "Chances are, there's a child in every neighborhood managing food allergies....Children managing other diseases in which candy represents a problem – like diabetes and celiac disease – also benefit."

FARE has a map of known participating locations.

The idea for the project came from the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee. The organization told WBIR that the idea started with its director, Becky Basalone, who "painted a pumpkin teal with her boys and put it out on her porch as part of a conversation piece for when people came to the door. And it really spurred from there," said South Chapter coordinator Amanda Painter.