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Blue Halloween pumpkin decision up to parents, says Autism Calgary

Autism Calgary is leaving it to parents to decide on participation in a Halloween blue pumpkin trend.

Some parents may give children with autism a blue pumpkin bucket to go trick-or-treating with. The idea was sparked by American mother Omairis Taylor, whose autistic son is non-verbal.

In a Facebook post, Taylor said when she was out last Halloween some waited for her son to say ‘trick-or-treat.’ Taylor claimed she had to explain the situation to several homeowners. 

“This year we will be trying the blue bucket to signify he has autism. Please allow him (or anyone with a blue bucket) to enjoy this day,” Taylor wrote in a post. 

The post has been shared more than 150,000 times.

Some families may be selective disclosing autism: Autism Calgary

The Executive Director with Autism Calgary, Lyndon Parakin, said not all families are comfortable disclosing their child’s autism through blue pumpkin buckets.

“To ensure people in the community do not act on assumptions or stereotypes, or to respect their loved one’s right of privacy,” said Parakin. 

Some parents may give children a blue pumpkin bucket to go trick-or-treating with.
Pam Winthrope/FB.

“Other families feel there is a benefit in disclosing the diagnosis, they feel this will empower people in the community to ask questions and provide accommodations to ensure a most positive community experience.”

Parakin says the colour blue is becoming somewhat universal in relation to autism through various campaigns. He adds the blue bucket campaign could be a learning opportunity for everyone. 

“As you hand out treats this Halloween, I encourage people to be open to the unique gifts and differences of all children. Making Halloween fun for every child is what Halloween is all about.”  

“If you happen to notice a family choosing to disclose an autism diagnosis, perhaps by wearing a multicoloured puzzle ribbon, the symbol ‘Au’ for gold, or a blue bucket, simply take a gentle approach and feel free to ask the family questions if you have doubts.”

Blue Pumpkin vs. Teal Pumpkin Project on Halloween

While blue buckets are associated for those with autism, teal pumpkins may also be spotted at some homes across Calgary.

The Teal Pumpkin Project strives to raise awareness of food allergies by placing a teal pumpkin in front of homes. It’s to symbolize homes that have non-food treats available for trick-or-treaters. 

The idea was started by US-based Food Allergy Research and Education, but is backed by Food Allergy Canada.

Dozens of homes in Calgary have already registered their homes on an interactive map showing people participating in the project. 

However, a post shared to a Calgary Facebook page talking about blue buckets and teal pumpkins sparked much debate.

“I just hand out candy. I am sure parents check the bags/buckets of their children,” said one Facebook user.

“Wow times have changed. I think it’s interesting or nice to have the colour representations, but for those who have never heard of these colour schemes is this Calgary wide (or wider) common knowledge?” said another user.

“Imma [sic]  just hand out my candy to whomever knocks, I assume that still works?”