You’ve probably heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project, but do you know what to do when you see a blue Halloween bucket? Last week a Facebook post about the buckets went viral, gaining over 150,000 shares and educating the public about the project. The mission is simple: Help those with autism enjoy Halloween.
In the viral post, Hawaii mom Omairis Taylor wrote that her 3-year-old son has autism and is nonverbal. She explained that people handing out candy often prompt her son to say “trick or treat” before they’ll drop a treat in his bag, leaving her to explain the situation over and over again at each new house.
While it might be second nature for us to wait for a child to say the three magic words before dropping a fun-size Snickers in their bag, Taylor’s post points out that this can make nonverbal children feel excluded. “This holiday is hard enough without any added stress,” she wrote.
Luckily, there’s an easy way to avoid creating an uncomfortable situation—and it’s so easy to make those with autism feel included. When you see someone carrying a blue Halloween bucket, don’t wait for them to say “trick or treat.” Instead, simply smile and tell them “Happy Halloween” before dropping a few pieces of candy in their pail.
Blue is the official color for autism awareness, so blue versions of the classic pumpkin buckets are a natural choice for the movement.
The Autism Speaks organization has hopped on board with the blue bucket movement too, sharing the information on their social platforms and providing more information about how you can help make Halloween a fun day for children and adults with autism. Hang their free printable sign on your door the week before Halloween to let the neighborhood know your home is autism-friendly.
We’re thankful that the blue bucket movement and the Teal Pumpkin Project have been well-received this year. When in doubt, smile, and hand a Halloween treat to everyone who rings your doorbell.