Blue Buckets Raise Awareness of Autism on Halloween

Morgan Berman, Features Editor

Parents have a sweet way to make trick-or-treating more fun for everyone on Halloween, especially children with autism. 

The tradition when kids dress up and go door-to-door can be intimidating for someone with autism, especially when they’re expected to boast, “Trick or treat!”

One mother shared the story of her 3-year-old nonverbal son on Facebook. She said they will be trying a new technique to ensure people who hand out candy understand he has a disability. 

 “This year we will be trying the blue bucket to signify he has autism,” she wrote. “Please allow him (or any other person with a blue bucket) to enjoy this day and don’t worry I’ll still say ‘trick or treat’ for him. This holiday is hard enough without any added stress.”

The post went viral and quickly garnered mass attention, which has helped spread the word.

“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. While he has the body of a 21-year-old, he loves Halloween,” said Alicia Plumer.

Another mother, Michelle Koenig, stated that this is her 5-year-old son’s first-year trick or treating.

“It gives people a chance to understand and it opens everyone’s eyes,” Koenig said,

“The idea is to have a blue bucket, or at least something blue, but there are no special logos or tags.”

Other Halloween trends like the “Teal Pumpkin Project” have successfully caught on and raised awareness for food allergies.

“People with autism deserve a bright – not just a blue – future,” said Kim Stagliano, who is a mother of three autistic daughters.

Although the blue buckets have caught traction on social media, for some they could signify vulnerability and could be a danger to autistic people. 

Some kids who have autism might feel uncomfortable because the blue buckets cause them to stand out, which is something autistic people do not condone.

“Having already vulnerable kids carrying a sign of their vulnerability is never smart,” read an infographic put out by an anonymous autistic individual, using the #ActuallyAutistic hashtag, on Twitter, Instagram and various other social media sites to counter the trend. “Singling out your kid and outting their diagnosis is really not cool. This is very othering.” Many other Internet users who have autism reposted the image with the same hashtag.