If you see a child with a blue bucket on Halloween, you should know that it might have more meaning than just their favorite color.
It all started with one mom who was trying to make Halloween a more enjoyable experience for her autistic son.
With just one simple Facebook post, Alicia Plumer, a mother living in Louisiana, sparked a movement that aims to make Halloween a little better for autistic children.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that each person has different strengths and challenges. It can affect their social skills, behavior, and speech. The tradition of dressing up and going door-to-door to shout “trick or treat!” can seem daunting and intimidating to some children with autism. They may sometimes face judgment in social situations like these, when they don’t behave the same way as other children.
That’s why mom Alicia Plumer posted her message on Facebook in October of last year. She wanted to make sure that her son, who loves Halloween, could enjoy the holiday just like everyone else.
“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,” Alicia wrote, adding, “Please help us keep his spirit alive & happy. So when you see the blue bucket share a piece of candy. Spread awareness!”
And now, ever since she made her post, the trend seems to be gaining momentum. The blue Halloween candy bucket has started to become an unofficial symbol of awareness for autism.
As of now, the movement is picking up across social media networks, but is not yet an official symbol of trick or treaters with autism.
Wendy Fournier, who is the president of the National Autism Association, thinks that the blue bucket is an excellent way for all autistic children–“the little ones and the bigger ones” as she says–to participate in the holiday without judgment.
She thinks that the blue buckets are a “subtle, dignified way of alerting people” that the person carrying it may not be able to tolerate wearing a mask, make direct eye contact, or even say “trick or treat” or “thank you.”
All kids deserve to enjoy this fun holiday, despite the challenges they may face. So, if you happen to see a child with a blue bucket, remember that it might be a subtle sign!