(NEW YORK) — Halloween is around the corner and parents have a sweet way to make trick-or-treating more inclusive and fun for everyone, especially children with autism.
The tradition at the end of the month when kids dress up and go door-to-door can be daunting for someone with autism, especially when prompted to boast, “trick or treat!”
One mother took to Facebook and shared the story of her 3-year-old son who is nonverbal and 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. 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,” she wrote. “This holiday is hard enough without any added stress. Thank you in advance.”
The post went viral and quickly garnered mass attention, which has helped spread the word.
Another Pennsylvania mother, Michelle Koenig, told ABC Scranton affiliate WNEP this is her 5-year-old son’s first year trick or treating.
“I think it’s hard for them, but it’s getting easier. People are becoming more accepting of it and people are aware,” she explained. “It’s good and it’s getting better.”
Rachel Brnilovich, a clinical director for the Pennsylvania Autism Action Center, said she thinks the blue bucket idea is a great one.
“We love this campaign. It really gives our kids an opportunity to go out, no matter their age and experience Halloween,” Brnilovich told the station. “Taking notice of the blue bucket and then just treating them like a child, how any child would be, give them the candy and just move on.”
Koenig said, “It gives people a chance to understand — and it opens everyone’s eyes.”
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. Read more about that here.
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