Halloween, Autism, And The Blue Pumpkin

As Halloween gets closer the number of posts about the blue pumpkin increases. The idea of the blue pumpkin was thought up by a mother of an autistic child. She thought if people saw her child carrying a blue pumpkin they would be more understanding when he didn’t run up to every door and say trick or treat. First and foremost, kudos to that mother for trying to be proactive for her child. Kudos to that mother for trying to find a way to make Halloween more enjoyable for her child.

The idea of the blue pumpkin has caught the attention of many. Some think the idea is wonderful. Others however believe it is stigmatizing. They point out we should not have to put a label on our children in order to have people be more accepting of them. People after all should know that not every child ringing their doorbell is the same. Some of our children are different and have different needs.

One can’t talk about the blue pumpkin without comparing it to the teal pumpkin. The teal pumpkin project was started in 2014, again by a mother, to raise awareness to food allergies. The idea is to put a teal colored pumpkin in front of your house to alert those children with food allergies that they can choose a non food “treat”. The difference here is that the teal pumpkin doesn’t single any child out. The teal pumpkin project enables the community to send the message that they understand your needs and will try to accommodate you. The blue pumpkin does the opposite. It asks the community to understand your needs so they might be able to accommodate you.

There has been an increase in autism awareness and inclusion for the last several years. Unfortunately it is not nearly enough. Our communities and schools may say they are inclusive but they really aren’t. Instead of going on and on about colored pumpkins we should be talking about how we can eliminate the need for mothers having to make sure society understands their child. In a great community people would put out a blue pumpkin as well as a purple one. In a completely inclusive community however, there would be no need for teal and blue pumpkins. That orange pumpkin out front would be a welcoming sign for all.

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