Does the blue pumpkin trend help non-verbal trick-or-treaters or single them out?

John McDevitt
October 25, 2019 - 7:34 pm
Blue pumpkin bucket

Omairis Taylor/Facebook

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Not everyone will be able to say “trick or treat” on Thursday. A distinct pumpkin trend is raising awareness so everyone feels included, but some parents feel it does the opposite.

For children with autism — specifically, who are non-verbal or have limited verbal skills — they have a way to signal to adults to “give me something good to eat.”

A national initiative has sparked the use of blue pumpkin candy buckets. If you see a child carrying one on Halloween, that indicates he or she is on the autism spectrum disorder.

The since-viral idea gained recognition from the mother of a non-verbal child, who wanted to better his trick-or-treating experience. When he’d approach a house, neighbors would wait for him to say “trick or treat” before handing him candy, and she said she would have to explain that he is non-verbal block after block.

The blue pumpkin trend joins the teal pumpkins, which are displayed outside a home to signal they have non-food treats for kids with severe food allergies.

Rachel Honore from West Philadelphia applauds the effort, but she noted every child is different.

Her 7-year-old son, Jonathan, who is on the spectrum and has limited verbal skills, will not be carrying a blue pumpkin bucket this year.

“As a parent, you really just want to encourage in that child what they can do and you want to bring it out and keep on encouraging it,” she said. “They will at some point pick it up, because he has come a long way and the sky is the limit.”

A blue pumpkin, she added, will not help Jonathan become verbal.

“I'm going to make him inclusive,” she continued. “He’s learning how to become non-verbal. He knows ‘mommy’ — I'm going to kind of, sort of egg him on and encourage him to be verbal. And it’s kind of an award, but that's the way we do other things, so he should be exposed.”