Mon. Sep 25th, 2023

By Savannah Sher | Published Oct 18, 2022 6:33 PM
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A: Traditionally, Halloween decorations—especially carved pumpkins—are predominantly orange. But in recent years, people around the country have started using blue pumpkins as a way to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) during Halloween.
The U.S. government estimates that one in 44 children are on the autism spectrum, and some of these children may require accommodations when trick-or-treating. When a homeowner puts a blue pumpkin on their porch, it shows that they’re willing and prepared to accommodate those kids’ needs on Halloween.
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Strobing lights, masks and costumes, and crowds of strangers can be a lot to process on Halloween, and some autistic children can face sensory overload while trick-or-treating. When you design your Halloween display to be sensory friendly and display a blue pumpkin on your porch, it lets children with autism and their parents or guardians know that your house is a safe place for them to participate in this fun holiday tradition. Some autistic children may also carry blue candy buckets on Halloween, but homes with blue pumpkins make homeowners’ accommodations clear while helping to spread community awareness.
The concept of displaying blue pumpkins on Halloween began as a grassroots social media movement and isn’t associated with any specific ASD advocacy organization. Since gaining popularity online, the concept has caught on across the country to make Halloween more accessible for everyone.
Once you’ve decided to display a blue pumpkin, meaning that your home welcomes autistic trick-or-treaters, there are a few things you should do before Halloween night. First, take some time to research ASD so that you’re well-informed and prepared to accommodate children on the autism spectrum. When decorating, avoid light displays that flash or strobe, as well as any additional loud noises, scents, or animated decorations. Be patient with kids who come to your door, and because some children may be nonverbal, don’t insist on them saying “trick-or-treat” before you hand out candy.
There is no shortage of great blue pumpkin ideas for a DIY sensory friendly display, but there are also plenty of blue pumpkins to buy in store and online. Here are a few blue pumpkin decorations you can display outside your home this year:
It’s easy to confuse blue pumpkins with teal pumpkins, which are used for a different purpose on Halloween. Despite the similar colors, the Teal Pumpkin Project was started to raise awareness and accommodate children with food allergies when trick-or-treating.
Children carrying teal candy buckets are likely allergic to one or more ingredients commonly found in Halloween candy and would appreciate a nonfood treat. Some popular choices include stickers, glow sticks, bubbles, pencils, vampire fangs, and other small toys. Meanwhile, displaying a teal pumpkin on your porch lets people know that these allergy-friendly treats are available at your house.
The Purple Pumpkin Project was created to promote epilepsy awareness, and households can display purple pumpkins to show their support. In 2020, however, purple pumpkins took on a new meaning when homeowners used them to indicate that they would be following Covid-19 safety protocols while handing out candy.
While pandemic precautions have largely been lifted since then, if you see a purple pumpkin among a neighbor’s Halloween decorations this year, it may indicate that those giving out candy will be wearing masks and following other sanitation measures to prevent disease spread.
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