Mom encourages blue Halloween pumpkins to raise autism awareness

National News

LEWISBURG, W.V. (WVNS) – Halloween is all about the spooks and thrills, but for children with autism, trick-or-treating can be downright scary.

Cheryl Cook, the president of the Autism Society of Rivercities says lots of things associated with trick-or-treating can cause sensory meltdowns in autistic children.

“There are a lot of things that cause sensory meltdowns, like the lighting or noises,” Cook said. “Stuff that we think is normal is ten times worse for them.”

Cook’s son, Ryan, loves Halloween, but trick-or-treating for the autistic 22 year old wasn’t always easy.

“A lot of these children look normal, you can’t tell that they have autism until they have a meltdown,” Cook said. “And people see him and they think ‘Oh he is just spoiled… she just needs to do something with her spoiled child.’ But it is not that easy.”

In a viral Facebook post, a mother in Hawaii who faces similar challenges is encouraging blue trick-or-treating pumpkins for autism awareness.

Parents of children with autism hope that by carrying the blue pumpkin, children and parents can avoid having to explain their child’s situation. They are also hoping homes will recognize the meaning of the blue pumpkin in a case where a child is non-verbal.

“It means a lot to our community… to be included,” Cook said. “Because that is all they want to do, to be included and fit in.”

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