Blue pumpkin buckets may be making appearances in neighborhoods this year, alongside the traditional orange ones.
It all started with a Facebook post by Omairis Taylor from Hawaii. Taylor said she was over the moon about her community opening their doors to her and her son.
Taylor’s three-year-old son, Luke, has autism, and she said going trick-or-treating has been difficult in the past.
“People were just asking him ‘what were the magic words’ or ‘what do you say,'” Taylor said. “I’m so sorry, he’s not being rude, he just has autism, he’s nonverbal.”
“The idea is that someone with autism can carry a blue bucket and on Halloween, knock on a door and have the person on the other side give them candy without making them say trick-or-treat,” she said.
But, not everyone is on board with the idea, given some concerns about privacy.
Gainesville mom Cheryl Russell has an 11-year-old son with autism.
“Most people trick-or-treat in their own neighborhoods so putting that out there lets the whole neighborhood know (the child has autism),” Russell said. “It should be up to the child when they get old enough to decide whether they want the neighborhood to know or not.”
Russell said there are other creative options to help children with communication barriers participate on Halloween.
“There are other things they can do, they can use technology to talk, they can use sign language with their parents interpreting for them,” she said. “There’s also cards they can make and laminate saying, you know, ‘trick or treat,’ you know, ‘I don’t speak,’ something along those lines ‘happy halloween,’ and I think the people would get across this is their way of communicating.”
Florida Autism Center Clinical Supervisor Cristina Whitehouse said whether the bucket is orange or blue, Halloween can be very stressful to a child with autism.
“Unexpected loud noises, a lot of people in costumes, flashing lights, waiting, all those things sometimes present specific challenges for children diagnosed with (autism spectrum disorder) especially on Halloween,” Whitehouse said.
However, she does think the blue pumpkins may catch on.
“I think, really, the blue bucket is a really wonderful opportunity to spread awareness of autism spectrum disorder, some of the challenges related to autism,” Whitehouse said.