What You Need To Know About The “Blue Pumpkin” Halloween Bucket Idea For Autism
As you may have heard, there’s an idea circulating among moms and dads encouraging parents of autistic kids to give their children blue Halloween buckets in order to flag the people handing out candy that the trick or treater is neurodivergent. This year, it went viral on Facebook after a mother educated other parents that her non-verbal three-year-old would carry the blue pale so that those in his neighborhood who open their doors on Halloween wouldn’t be waiting for her son to say, “Trick or treat!”
“Please allow him(or anyone with a BLUE BUCKET) to enjoy this day and don’t worry I’ll still say TRICK OR TREAT for him … This holiday is hard enough without any added stress. Thank you in advance,” the mom wrote. “I have made this post public in hopes you will share and get the BLUE BUCKET message out there for Autism Awareness and acceptance this Halloween.”
While that particular post has 120K shares, a Halloweentime 2018 post with 28K came first. A woman named Alicia told her community, “If you see someone who appears to be an adult dressed up to trick or treat this year carrying this blue bucket, he’s our son! His name is BJ & he is autistic. While he has the body of a 21 year old, he loves Halloween. Please help us keep his spirit alive & happy. So when you see the blue bucket share a piece of candy. Spread awareness!”
While some parents of neurodivergent kids have found this to be an appropriate way to make sure there’s no drama for their child on Halloween, others think that forcing someone with autism to publicly mark themselves in order to be afforded kindness by others is counter-productive. Spreading awareness should be just that — spreading awareness — not creating a cultural tradition that continues to pigeonhole neurodiversity as ‘otherness.’ The 1.5 million American children with autism shouldn’t need to tell people “I’m different,” for people to recognize and appreciate that everyone is different in some way.
A mother named Jackie Spinner wrote for Washington Post about this issue, writing, “My son shouldn’t have to carry a blue pumpkin.”
“At 7, my autistic son now mostly follows the ‘required’ social protocol for Halloween. We’ve gone over how he shouldn’t stand in front of someone’s candy bowl and root through it looking for his favorite colored wrapper or shape. We’ve talked at length about how he should take one piece and not ask for two… But he also shouldn’t have to disclose his diagnosis in exchange for kindness.”
Jackie pointed out another Facebook post that encouraged people to “be decent humans” to everyone, not just those holding blue pumpkins. “If you cannot handle being a decent human to ALL of your neighbors on Halloween, do us all a favor and keep your lights off,” the page “Autistic, Typing” declared.
You can read the whole thing here:
If your neurodivergent child wants to go trick-or-treating with a blue pumpkin, more power to ’em! But if they don’t, that’s ok, that’s their right, and those who open their doors on Halloween should be aware that kids and adults of all levels of mental maturity may coming knocking.