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Local parents respond to blue Halloween bucket initiative

Posted at 3:52 PM, Oct 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-24 21:28:40-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — For kids with Autism, Halloween isn't always the super joyous free-for-all night that it is for their peers.

That's because some children, like Claudia Cabrera's five year old son Franko, struggle with speech due to their Autism diagnosis.

"The actual trick or treating part has been just a little stressful you know having to explain he can't say trick-or-treat," Cabrera said.

Cabrera said some parent's passing out candy in Kern County are caught off guard when her son comes to their door and has nothing to say on Halloween night, adding stress to their yearly tradition.

"I think they are just like oh.........ok....... they don't really understand why I am up there all up in the business and they don't understand and it's hard because there is no time, If you've ever been trick-or-treating and it's in the moment and I'm like ok house, house, this next house, this next house and there is a huge line behind you," Cabrera said.

So in order to help Franko keep up with the fast paced and overwhelming environment, the two have already been preparing.

"He likes the idea of it but when it's right in his face he gets nervous. So we gotta practice and like go to the store and see the spooky stuff and you know and say look Franko it's not scary, it's not scary it's ok, it's not going to touch you so it's been a process,"Cabrera said.

Cabrera said she has been helping Franko practice saying trick or treat for the last month, but this year she believes the Halloween experience will be easier and more enjoyable because of the new blue candy buckets.

"I think it's genius, that support would have been amazing, would have been so helpful in not feeling so alone in the whole day, thinking oh gosh my son is the only one feeling like this, we are the only one's going through this," Cabrera said.

A viral Facebook post from one mom explains, the buckets are meant to alert candy givers that the child or teen might have Autism and may be non-verbal, and can't say things like 'trick-or-treat' or 'Happy Halloween' in exchange for candy.

This Halloween you will likely see many children carrying blue buckets around your neighborhood, and Cabrera said you can also find an affordable one in Kern County.

"I went to Walmart, luckily they had a lot and they are only a dollar," Cabrera said.

While some may feel the buckets are openly advertising a child's diagnosis Cabrera said the majority of Autism mom's in the Bakersfield Facebook group are thrilled about the initiative.

"The Autism mom's on the Facebook group are excited. They are really excited to know that there is something like this where everyone can come together and you see another mom walking down the street with a blue bucket...you know we're in this together," Cabrera said.

The blue buckets don't have any special tag or logo.

Experts said it doesn't even have to be a bucket just something blue.

However, remember the blue bucket shouldn't be confused with the teal pumpkin project, that's meant to raise awareness for food allergies.

If its blue it means be aware of Autism.