During autumn, warm hues are everywhere! Golden-brown leaves fall from trees, amber flames flicker atop spice-scented candles and, of course, orange pumpkins adorn both residential homes and haunted houses.
Black and orange are widely accepted as the official colors of Halloween. But, now, pumpkins are boldly embracing every color of the rainbow. Colored pumpkins can help illustrate disability inclusion and support an array of other efforts. To beautifully display missions and/or support trick-or-treaters of all abilities, here’s what you need to know about the diverse hues of Halloween pumpkins.
Here’s a Guide to Colored Pumpkins:
Blue pumpkins and “blue buckets” are associated with autism spectrum disorder and other special needs. The National Autism Association says 1-in-54 children are affected by autism. Many families find the blue hue to be a helpful distinction, especially for trick-or-treaters who are nonverbal, unable to make eye contact, skip costume-wearing because of sensory issues and older kiddos with developmental disabilities (that may otherwise be shunned because of age). Some parents, however, disagree with the blue approach because they feel it urges families and/or children to unnecessarily disclose disabilities and, therefore, could result in a child being singled out. As with many choices made by individual families, decisions are personal and varied. Others prefer the option of special needs informant card cutouts (downloaded here) to present while treating.
Teal pumpkins align with food allergies. 1-in-13 children in the U.S. have a food allergy. According to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), many popular Halloween candies contain nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat, which are among the most common allergens. Surprisingly, some fun-size candy versions contain different ingredients than their full-sized counterparts. These miniatures may not have labels, therefore making it harder to identify allergen risks. The Teal Pumpkin Project promotes non-food treat alternatives to better include those with food allergies and intolerances, eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), celiac disease, food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), feeding tubes and diabetes.
Purple pumpkins promote awareness of epilepsy. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, 1-in-26 Americans will be diagnosed with epilepsy at some point in their life. Almost 500 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed every day. To find out more about the Purple Pumpkin Project and its origins, visit epilepsy.com.
Pink pumpkins connect with breast cancer awareness month (October). Approximately 1-in-8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetime and 1-in-39 women will die from breast cancer, per the American Cancer Society. The Pink Pumpkin Project encourages annual mammograms and provides emotional and financial support to those fighting breast cancer.
Halloween is one of the deadliest DUI holidays, says Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). That’s why this nonprofit asks the community to spread awareness by displaying red pumpkins at home and throughout communities. The red pumpkin is intended to serve as a reminder to designate a sober driver during the holiday season.
October is also pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. In the United States, 1-in-4 pregnancies end in miscarriage and 1-in-160 pregnancies end in stillbirth. Families affected by such loss may choose to display a white pumpkin in honor of their little pumpkin in heaven.