For children with autism, holidays like Halloween can sometimes be more stressful than they are fun.
However, one Hawaii-based mom is determined to make sure her 3-year-old son — who is autistic and nonverbal — doesn’t have to worry about having a fun time while trick-or-treating this year.
“My son is 3 years old and has autism. He is nonverbal. Last year houses will wait for him to say TRICK OR TREAT in order for him to get a piece of candy and there I go explaining the situation for the next 5 blocks,” Omairis Taylor wrote on Facebook last week. “This year we will be trying the BLUE BUCKET to signify he has autism.”
Taylor is spreading awareness for the blue Halloween bucket initiative, where children on the spectrum carry a blue version of the traditional candy-collecting pail in order to signal that they may have autism and have a hard time asking for candy.
“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, ill get my mom candy tax later 😁,” she added. “This holiday is hard enough without any added stress. Thank you in advance. P.s. 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💙🎃💙🎃💙🎃.”
The initiative went viral last year as well when Louisiana-based mom Alicia Plumer announced her then 21-year-old son would be using the blue bucket during his trick or treat excursion — so that people wouldn’t judge the older boy for enjoying the holiday.
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“Trick or Treat….the BLUE BUCKET…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,” she wrote last October. “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.”
Plumer’s post was later shared by Autism Speaks, which also gave additional advice on how to help make Halloween a fun experience for everyone.
The organization encourages parents to talk to their children ahead of trick-or-treating about what they may experience, and staying close to home in case a break is needed. It also offers that in place of a blue bucket, children can also wear a badge over their costume that communicates their autism to others.
The blue bucket movement has also inspired other initiatives, including the Teal Pumpkin Project, which encourages people to offer non-food treats at their home so that children with food allergies can still enjoy the holiday, CBS reports.