Charlotte-area children living with autism joining movement to use blue Halloween buckets

Charlotte-area children living with autism joining movement to use blue Halloween buckets

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - You may see some blue Halloween buckets this year as kids trick-or-treat in your neighborhood.

Thirteen-year-old Emily Trammel will be a mermaid for Halloween this year.

“I like the sparkles on the tail and the glittery-ness,” she says, proudly displaying her outfit.

The young teen points out that it is only two days away from Halloween, which means two days from trick-or-treating, parts of which can be challenging for her.

“She doesn’t look eye-to-eye and talk to people,” Emily’s mom Tammy Trammel says. “And they can perceive that as being rude.”

That is why she will be one of thousands carrying a blue bucket from door-to-door, this year.

“When a child comes to your door and maybe doesn’t say ‘trick or treat,’ or doesn’t make eye contact with you, sometimes that can be interpreted as being rude,” Lauren Kidder at Autism Speaks says. “That’s obviously not what’s happening there.”

Not to mention, Halloween means unfamiliar sights and sounds, which can cause discomfort for people living with autism.

“Some of those different sensory stimulation that they are not used to can be very difficult,” Kidder says.

The blue bucket signifies to people at that door that this child may not say “trick or treat,” or that they may not be a child at all, but an older person whose mind is like a child’s.

“I’ll be honest, I have seen 18-year-olds come up trick-or-treating and think, ‘Oh, they just wanted candy,’” Tammy Trammel says. “I never thought about it. So, it educated me, too.”

Experts and parents want to make sure people are patient, and welcoming to anyone who comes to the door, this Halloween. That includes those without a special bucket.

“Maybe they just don’t like the color blue,” Kidder says. “So keep that in mind with every child.”

Still, they are hoping this new idea catches on, and that their neighbors will be understanding.

“I hope there’s a lot of blue buckets and a lot of people that see them and realize there are more people you know that are autistic,” Trammel says.

The true blue color they are using is associated with autism nationally. Neighbors may also see teal pumpkins – those signal a food allergy.

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