Trick or Trees goes candy free, spreads food allergy awareness

Teaming up with different food allergy centers, UT Gardens decided to go candy-free for its 5th annual Trick or Trees event to spread awareness of food allergies. Children were excited to dress up as his or her favorite characters and win prizes for participating in different games.

Children making crafts at Trick or Trees // Photo by Kaitlin Flippo

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Trick or Trees, hosted by UT Gardens on UT’s Agriculture campus, went candy free to raise awareness of food allergies on Saturday. Trick or Trees partnered with Allergy & Asthma Affiliates, The Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) and the Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center
This year they replaced treats with prizes. They also displayed teal pumpkins, which are used to signify that someone offers allergy-friendly treats.

Trees were dressed in Halloween decorations for Trick or Trees event // Photo by Kaitlin Flippo
Trees were dressed in Halloween decorations for Trick or Trees event // Photo by Kaitlin Flippo

The event began at 1 p.m. and lasted until 3 p.m., giving children and their families plenty of time to visit the eight booths which included games such as Pin the Spider on the Web as well as a few arts and crafts stations.

“This year we have about 80 kids who pre-registered,” said Derrick Stowell, event coordinator and UT Gardens Educator. “This is the highest number we’ve had. We typically have about 50 kids, but we just continue to grow every year.”

Children arrived fully decorated in Halloween costumes. Rayn Cole, age 2, said that she dressed up as Scooby-Doo because she loved how he ate Scooby Snacks with Shaggy.

Cole was one of many children who was excited for the prizes they could win for participating in different games, as well as making Halloween crafts and learning about other Halloween related topics. But perhaps the children’s favorite part of the night was trick or treating.

“My favorite part of Halloween is trick or treating,” said Maddy Moore, age 5. “I like to dress up (for Halloween). This year, I’m Elsa.”

Kai Banda, age 5, said that his favorite part of Halloween is candy, but he still had a lot of fun dressing up and winning prizes.

“I dressed up like a ninja (this year) because my mom always says I act like a ninja,” said Banda.

The children were able to enjoy themselves as trick or treating came to a close, and the allergy centers that partnered with UT Gardens were able to educate and offer support for those with food allergies and for those that know someone with allergies.

This event happens every year and is a great way for families to learn about UT Gardens, teach them about nature and the outdoors and celebrate the Halloween season, according to Stowell.

Upcoming UT Gardens events can be found at https://utgardens.wildapricot.org/UTGardensEvents

Featured image by Kaitlin Flippo

Edited by Hannah Hunnicutt

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