Trick-or-treaters with autism carry blue buckets

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you’re handing out candy on Halloween, you may notice some trick-or-treaters carrying blue buckets.

The buckets, or blue jack-o-lanterns, indicate the kids have autism.

“It’s just a symbol to people to help them understand that maybe this child might not respond the same way as other kids when they come to the door,” said Maria Olvera, the clinical supervisor at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Grand Rapids. “It might be hard for them to communicate. It might be harder for them to know what it is that they need to say.”

She explained that putting on a costume and having paint on their face may be an overwhelming sensory experience for some kids with autism, so people passing out candy should give them a little leeway.

“I’ve seen a lot of comments about how you’re just not giving out candy until someone says ‘trick or treat,'” she said.

Sometimes a child with autism may not speak, especially when they’re in an unfamiliar situation. You can be understanding by bending your rules for them.

“The whole community can be involved with helping with building skills, getting kids out and having them be included,” Olvera said.

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