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New Jersey: Different colored pumpkins mean different disabilities

Oct 22, 2023, My Central Jersey: Different colors on Halloween hold special meaning. What do they mean?

Halloween can be more than a simple trick-or-treat for children with disabilities.

Besides the classic orange, a rainbow of pumpkins have been cropping up on doorways and windowsills, as well as different colored candy buckets carried by trick-or-treaters.

According to Ameridisability, an online publication dedicated to individuals with disabilities, caregivers and seniors, different colored pumpkins and candy buckets can have similar unspoken purposes, such as drawing attention to a food allergy or a health condition. The color codes can help children have an experience that allows them to join in on the fun with an extra layer of comfort.

Different colors on Halloween hold special meaning


The Teal Pumpkin Project is a simple way to make trick-or-treating safer and more inclusive for the one in 13 children − that’s roughly two in every classroom − living with food allergies and other conditions, such as celiac disease or lactose intolerance. This campaign was inspired by a local awareness activity run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) and has been promoted by the nonprofit organization Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) since 2014.

Homes and businesses place a teal pumpkin on the doorstep. This signals that, in addition to candy, non-food trinkets and treats such as bubbles, glow sticks or pop fidget toys are offered. These are considered safe for all trick-or-treaters. It can also mean that the house has allergy-friendly candy.

Both Target and CVS have promotions for The Teal Pumpkin Project this year, offering colored teal pumpkins and other treats appropriate for children with food allergies.


Some across the country have adopted the blue pumpkin as a way to alert others that a trick-or-treater is on the autism spectrum. The idea initially went viral on social media to raise awareness for autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

One in 54 American children are on the autism spectrum, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. After the Teal Pumpkin Project gained momentum, social media users saw blue pumpkins trending as an awareness campaign for those with ASD. Those with autism may have difficulty with the act of trick-or-treating or other Halloween activities.

As the blue candy bucket may let houses know that a trick-or-treater is on the autism spectrum, a blue pumpkin at a home shows the treat-giver is aware of differently abled children. Some trick-or-treaters may not be able to say, "Trick or Treat" or "Thank you." It is an unspoken way of helping an experience continue to be enjoyable with acceptance, patience and kindness as key lessons for all….

The blue pumpkin or bucket is an individual choice for families. There is no official campaign attached to any autism organization.


If you see a purple pumpkin or bucket this fall it is more than OK to ask, "Why?" They want you to ask. A purple pumpkin is how those connected to the Epilepsy Foundation are raising awareness about the chronic neurological disease and fundraising for the organization….

TEAL for allergies BLUE for autism PURPLE for seizures


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