Trick-or-treating, the beloved Halloween tradition that brings out little ghosts and goblins, witches and, this year, Barbies. In our close-knit Utah neighborhoods, trick-or-treating is a social event. Neighbors gather on their porches, sharing stories and laughter as they dole out treats to the eager trick-or-treaters.  

You know how the kids hold out a plastic pumpkin or a pillowcase to collect their treats? Well, here is something to keep an eye out for this year as the kids come knocking at your door. If the child has a blue or teal plastic pumpkin, it may be a signal to those handing out candy. 

Teal buckets indicate the child may have an allergy to something like nuts. Blue buckets indicate the child may have a condition like autism.

This is from a website describing what it means:  

Primarily, blue pumpkins are used by families and caregivers to signal to others that their child is on the autism spectrum (and that trick-or-treating exchanges may present unique perplexities for them) to prompt neighbors to be more aware of the situation in the moment. 

Why is this important to these families? One mom described how her son who is autistic and non-verbal would stand at the door and some would ask him to say “trick or treat” to get candy. She described how she spent the night trying to explain his condition. 

Others feel like it is a good way to open a conversation about autism. There were some parents who worried about separating their children by the color of the bucket. Whatever parents decide, just being mindful of how others are feeling is never a bad thing.

Photo by Thirdman:
Photo by Thirdman:

I think this is a smart way to make this yearly tradition of candy collecting on Halloween a little more enjoyable for everyone. By using and understanding what the blue or teal bucket means, we can help everyone have a good experience this Halloween.

LOOK: How Halloween has changed in the past 100 years

Stacker compiled a list of ways that Halloween has changed over the last 100 years, from how we celebrate it on the day to the costumes we wear trick-or-treating. We’ve included events, inventions, and trends that changed the ways that Halloween was celebrated over time. Many of these traditions were phased out over time. But just like fake blood in a carpet, every bit of Halloween’s history left an impression we can see traces of today.

Gallery Credit: Brit McGinnis

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