Trick or Treat: Blue Buckets for Autism


This year, many will be carrying blue buckets on Halloween to support those with autism, who may experience stress during trick-or-treating. Photo Courtesy of Beaver County times

Erin Shirhall, General

As Halloween approaches, people all around the world prepare to celebrate the holiday by buying candy to give out for trick or treating. The rules of trick or treating are simple: knock on the door, say “trick or treat” and receive candy. However, what if someone is incapable of saying the words “trick or treat?” For those who may be unable, this holiday may feel more like an overwhelming nightmare rather than a fun day of costumes and treats. Knowing how stressful the day can be, one mother on social media has brought attention to the movement, called Blue Buckets for Autism.


Scrolling through her Facebook feed one day, mother Omairis Taylor saw a post about how this Halloween season, children and adults with autism should use blue buckets while trick or treating to show that they have autism in a subtle way. Taylor thought that this was a great idea, as her son also has autism. She knows how difficult it can sometimes be for people to understand the scenario. Wanting to spread awareness to her community, Taylor posted on her Facebook, “My 3 year old son is autistic and non-verbal. Last year, houses waited for him to say trick-or-treat before letting him have candy. Instead of having to go ahead of him and explain the situation to people, this year we will be trying the blue buckets to signify his autism.” Taylor’s post quickly gained traction with over 150,000 shares and 32,000 hearts and thumbs up. Other parents who were in similar situations quickly joined the Blue Buckets movement and shared the gesture with their friends. “We love this campaign. It really gives our kids an opportunity to go out, no matter their age and experience Halloween,” said Rachel Brnilovich, clinical director for the Pennsylvania Autism Action Center. “Taking notice of the blue bucket and then just treating them like a child, how any child would be, give them the candy and just move on.”


Since the movement began, it has been going strong. In the year 2019, 32,000 people participated in the motion by tagging Taylor in posts and using the #bluebucketsforautism tag on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This year, the blue bucket has been called the “unofficial symbol for autism during Halloween time.” Even though the movement is very popular, there are still so many people who don’t know what the blue buckets mean.


How can you support the movement?

The main thing you can do to support blue buckets is to be aware. Understand that not every child with autism will be carrying a blue bucket and a person carrying a blue bucket might not have autism. Understand that Halloween (as exciting as it may be) can be stressful to some. Instead of adding extra stress to a person’s trick or treating, try to be understanding. Do not force a person into saying the words “trick or treat” or “thank you” when giving them candy. Also, most importantly, be kind. Happy Halloween, Warriors!