DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — You may have seen orange pumpkins, but have you ever seen blue pumpkins? While both colored pumpkins serve as a candy bucket, the blue bucket serves an even bigger purpose.
“The nice thing about a blue pumpkin, it’s not just for autism awareness,” said Terry Dedrick, a parent of an autistic individual. “It’s any child with special needs. It can be cerebral palsy, it can be autism, it can be down syndrome. If you see a blue pumpkin, then you know that that child has something that’s not normal.”
But while many members of the special needs community embrace the blue pumpkin and its meaning, there’s some debate over whether it’s the best way to signify a person has special needs.
“Next thing you know you have 12 different groups fighting over the blue pumpkin,” Dedrick said. “It’s a blue pumpkin. Lets all just remember what this is about. This is about kids having some fun.”
Terry says her own son, Michael, has benefitted from the blue pumpkin.
“Before it was ‘You better control your kid better’,” said Dedrick. “I’m controlling him as best as I can. So now there’s more understanding, there’s more compassion.”
If nothing else, the blue pumpkin, as well as any different colored-pumpkin, can serve as a conversation starter. Something Terry says is always a good thing.
“I would love it if someone just waited and counted to ten silently in their head and then waited for him to say thank you,” Dedrick said. “Waited to say hi.”
Orange, blue, teal, pink. Terry says don’t let the color confuse you. Instead, let it spark your curiosity and your kindness. However, in case you’re wondering, teal pumpkins signify non-food related treats for trick or treaters.