Blue trick or treating pumpkin buckets are not official symbols for the autistic community

24 October 2019
What was claimed

If you see someone trick or treating carrying a blue pumpkin, it could be a sign they’re autistic.

Our verdict

The blue pumpkins are not an official campaign, but have been embraced by some people (mostly, it seems in America).

Several Facebook posts shared thousands of times on Facebook have claimed that a trick or treater carrying a blue Halloween pumpkin is a sign that the person is autistic. One post says the “autism community” created the campaign.

While some autistic trick or treaters may choose to carry a blue pumpkin, it’s not clear whether or not the autism community widely supports the campaign.

If someone has a blue pumpkin it doesn't necessarily mean they are autistic (they have also been used to signal certain food allergies). Equally, someone not having a blue pumpkin shouldn’t be taken to indicate that they aren't autistic.

The initiative seems to have started with a post last year from a mother who’d used a blue pumpkin to signify that her son was autistic when he went out trick or treating. It was also reposted on the Facebook page of US charity Autism Speaks. The charity has long been associated with the colour blue, using it in its logo and range of campaigns. Both posts went viral and, in the run-up to Halloween, the blue buckets have been embraced by some.

However, some people in the autism community have rejected the campaign due to its connection with Autism Speaks. The charity is the subject of controversy in the community for its descriptions of autism as a “disaster” and in need of a cure.

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