By EQUIP Leader Carrie McWhorter
**Disclaimer: Teal pumpkins placed outside the home alerts trick-or-treaters that they have accommodations for those that may have food allergies. Trick-or-treaters carrying blue bags identify themselves as having a disability so homeowners know.**
This Halloween, parents of children with autism are being encouraged via social media to send their children off with blue trick-or-treat buckets or a bag with a puzzle piece. The blue bucket or bag is meant to signal to the general public that the individual has autism and is nonverbal. The push for disability disclosure is problematic for several reasons.
A child should not be forced to disclose their disability to make others feel more comfortable. It should be the individual’s choice if, when, and how to disclose. If a child comes to the door on Halloween night, give them candy or other treats. To avoid ableism, people should be mindful that children with disabilities will be trick-or-treating and should not expect that every individual will communicate or present the same way. Therefore, the person giving out the candy should accommodate everyone. People should not force children to say “trick-or-treat” or wear a costume in order to receive candy.
Make sure to value children’s right not to self-disclose over a stranger’s discomfort. Say no to blue!