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The Aztec Chamber of Commerce is promoting an initiative to help children with food allergies or diabetes enjoy Halloween

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AZTEC — While children look forward to dressing up for Halloween and receiving candy, some parents are concerned about the safety of letting children go trick or treating from door to door.

Because of those concerns, the city of Farmington and the Aztec Chamber of Commerce organize yearly events that provide children with the opportunity to trick or treat at local businesses.

"I think the downtown city is pretty supportive of safe treats," said Theresa Bailey, the Aztec Chamber of Commerce president.

While most of Aztec's participating businesses are downtown, other businesses also participate.

The two cities will have their safe treats on different days. Aztec's is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 30 while Farmington's Boo-palooza will be on Halloween.

This year, the Aztec Chamber of Commerce is also making its annual Safe Treats a bit safer by promoting the Teal Pumpkin Project.

"This is for kiddos that have diabetes or that have food allergies," Bailey told the manager of Aztec Hardware as chamber members visited businesses on Saturday to talk about Safe Treats. "Halloween kind of sucks for them."

Food Allergy Research and Education launched the campaign last year and expects more than 100,000 households to participate. An online map helps families who have children with food allergies find Teal Pumpkin Project houses.

Participants will display either a symbol of a teal pumpkin or a painted pumpkin that will signal that it has nonfood treats for children who have allergies or diabetes.

The children can ask the business for nonfood items.

The chamber recommends that businesses that participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project give out items like glow sticks, bubbles or pencils. While this year the chamber is getting businesses familiar with the idea of the Teal Pumpkin Project, Annette Davis, the chamber's treasurer, said it will continue pushing the initiative in future years.

Houses or businesses that want to participate can add their addresses to the map online and can print out teal pumpkin logos to display. The Aztec Chamber of Commerce also has Teal Pumpkin Project signs that participating businesses can post in their windows.

"We're really trying to take the lead with providing noncandy treats," Teresa said.

Although the downtown Aztec business Backroads Antiques and Collectibles has only been open for about a week, the managers of the family-run antique store told the chamber they are planning on being involved in the Safe Treats project. Justin Donald, a manager, was impressed by the idea of the Teal Pumpkin Project.

"I think it's a really good idea," he said.

Donald has two children, including a 4-month-old son, who was at the business when chamber representatives spoke to them about Safe Treats.

As a parent, Donald said it is nice to know that his children would be able to participate in the Halloween tradition if they developed food allergies.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

If you go

Aztec Safe Treats: 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30. More info: new.aztecchamber.com

Farmington Boo-palooza: 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31 in downtown Farmington. The event will include a Monster Mash Dance from 4 to 6 p.m., as well as a pet costume parade at 5 p.m. More info: 505-599-1197.

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