LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - It’s almost time for children to put on their costumes and go door to door for candy, but for those on the autism spectrum, scary sounds and decorations, tight or scratchy costumes and going out at night can be a lot to handle.
That’s where a blue bucket comes in.
“It gets a little exhausting explaining at every house-- I’m sorry he didn’t thank you, he’s autistic,” said Cynthia Volk, a mother of a boy with Autism.
The Halloween tradition of going door to door saying trick or treat and getting a handful of candy is easy for most people.
“I don’t think a lot of people realize that not every child can do that,” said Volk.
But for some who have Autism, it can be challenging.
“If you think about, what it takes already for some kids that are shy, or might be on the spectrum or have another disability," said Erin McQueen, a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst at Rose Street Spectrum. "They’re already uncomfortable and then you’re putting them in a costume and then you’re having them go up to a stranger’s door and then they have to talk to a stranger. That’s a lot.”
“The more understanding out there they easier it is going to be for the parent and the child,” said Volk.
The blue bucket is meant to raise Autism awareness.
“It’s letting people know that hey I have Autism and I may not be able to say trick-or-treat or do the correct social cues of ringing the doorbell or waiting for someone to come to the door or I may get really excited that I see something cool behind you and want to come in your house,” said Emily Redding, a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst at Rose Street Spectrum.
The hope is that when candy givers see the brightly hued plastic pumpkins, they will offer up a side of patience with the treats being handed out.
“Tolerance to what you may not understand," said Redding. "You never know what people are going through or what is going on, so just be tolerant.”
“I think that with a blue bucket maybe people are aware that this is kind of a sign that maybe be a little bit kinder or a little bit more understanding," siad Volk. "Not every child out there with a blue bucket is going to be on the spectrum because blue is a cool color, but if you see one and they don’t respond the way you think they should, there is probably a reason.”
But not everyone is on board with the initiative.
“They are a vulnerable population in many ways and giving them an obvious target that kind of points to them as having this diagnosis would make them easy for predators," said McQueen. "I know that’s kind of fear mongering and that’s not my intent. I just think we need to be careful and cautious in how we proceed because we don’t know who is out there and we don’t always know who are neighbors are.”
The blue bucket shouldn’t be confused with the Teal Pumpkin Project. That’s meant to raise awareness of food allergies through the addition of non-food trinkets and toys to your treats.