A Colorful Cause

Blue pumpkins bring awareness to Autism

Blue+pumpkin-shaped+candy+buckets+make+Halloween+easier+for+the+Autistic+community.

Omairis Taylor

Blue pumpkin-shaped candy buckets make Halloween easier for the Autistic community.

“Trick-or-treat!” 

Going from door to door with my friends on Halloween night is one of my favorite childhood memories. I loved admiring everyone’s costumes and even if it was cold (like it will be tonight), I enjoyed walking around to everyone’s decorated houses. Although trick-or-treating is a beloved activity of children on Halloween, it is a stressful tradition for some. 

Halloween can be a challenging holiday for Autistic children. Many often have difficulties with verbal communication, especially in social situations, and some are completely nonverbal. So simple phrases like “trick-or-treat” or “thank you” are challenging. 

Last year, Alicia Plumer, whose son is Autistic, posted on Facebook that her 21-year-old son BJ would be trick-or-treating with a blue pumpkin. In the post she wrote, “Please help us keep his [BJ’s] spirit alive & happy. So when you see the blue bucket share a piece of candy. Spread awareness! These precious people are not ‘too big’ to trick or treat.”

This post has been shared over 28,000 times on Facebook and since has sparked a movement this Halloween to bring awareness to Autistic children. This year, trick-or-treaters with Autism are encouraged to carry blue pumpkin buckets to hold their candy. The blue pumpkins are meant to serve as a silent signal for homeowners to be a bit more compassionate and understanding.

“Having a ‘blue bucket’ helps speak for them and makes it so much easier on someone who already struggles to communicate,” said Kim H, a Salt Lake valley resident. “The child could go to the door on their own without the parent having to go and explain for the child, so they can begin to understand they can do things on their own,” she said.

Kim’s son Zack is Autistic and she believes this movement could have helped him, especially when he was older in high school yet “in his heart, he was [still] a child.” “Armed with a blue pumpkin he may have been able to enjoy the holiday longer…” she finished.

So if you see a child or an adult at your front door with a blue pumpkin, lend a piece of candy. They enjoy Halloween just as much as the next person even when they can’t express it.

Happy Halloween JD!