What it means if child uses blue trick or treating bucket on Halloween
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With Halloween finally here, no doubt you'll see plenty of kids out and about this evening in their finest spooky outfits, their outstretched hands ready for some sweets.
While most people might opt for the traditional orange pumpkin bucket, you may spot one that looks slightly different - and for very good reason.
The blue pumpkin bucket idea was started by a woman in America, who shared the decision on Facebook a while back.
"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," she said.
"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! These precious people are not 'too big' to trick or treat."
The blue pumpkin bucket is now a widely-used indicator that someone in a household has autism, having been picked up by parents across the world.
At the time the idea was shared, many others praised the mother for the creative suggestion.
One wrote: "Love this idea! Hope he has a great Halloween."
Someone else said: "What a wonderful idea."
A third wrote: "My brother is also 21 and autistic. He’s got the body of an adult but the heart and mind of a child. I love this reminder. Thank you."
Another said: "Love this, thank you for spreading awareness."
While everybody is different, people with autism often struggle with communicating and interacting with others, so highlighting this will hopefully help people when interacting with them.
Some people feel the idea is slightly controversial, however, arguing that those with autism shouldn't have to disclose it.
Keri Chavarria, a mother of seven-year-old twins with autism wrote on Facebook: “Nobody should have to disclose a diagnosis in exchange for kindness."
She went on: “Some parents might see the blue bucket as a way to help our kids.
“I know the many (many) people who alerted me to the idea did so with good intentions. Our society is becoming more aware of autism, more open to inclusion, and my kids will benefit from that. But they also shouldn’t have to tell a stranger they have autism in order to get some chocolate.”
But others stress that it's simply down to a family's individual choice, based on what a child needs or wants.
Kerry Magro, a public speaker and activist who was diagnosed with autism at age 2, told Today: "It's ideal to give the individual an opportunity to choose whether or not they want to use a blue bucket and parents should validate that decision."
On the other hand, she also flagged there are potential downsides to using a blue bucket, adding: “There is a concern with unintentionally stigmatizing children with autism, or confusing the color blue with teal [which symbolises food allergy awareness in some areas]."