What it means if you see children with blue trick-or-treat buckets in Milton Keynes
Parents in MK are spreading a Hallowe'en message urging people to look out for trick or treaters carrying a blue bucket instead of a traditional orange one.
The blue bucket indicates the child has autism or special needs and may act differently to other youngsters out.
One Milton Keynes mum has written a poignant message on social media this week and is hoping it will go viral.
She said: "Not all children on the spectrum or with hidden disabilities are going to need this. But for children like mine, who is five, non verbal and severe development delayed, it could be a massive help."
She said the blue buckets, which are available in Poundland, can also be a huge help to parents.
"I don't have to explain ‘he's not being rude, he's autistic and can’t make eye contact', or can’t say please, trick or treat etc.
"The bucket lets people know that a child may not be dressed up because they cannot cope with the material of the fancy dress. It may let them know that if at any point they go into meltdown, it’s due to this hidden disability.
"It could let them know that the child may not understand to take the sweets and the adult may have to take them for them. It could tell others know that a 24 year old has the mental age of a child and loves to trick or treat."
The mum is urging other parents of special needs children to share the blue bucket message and make it go viral before Hallowe'en night.
She said: "This could potentially start a great thing to help many people. Acknowledging this bucket and understanding what it may indicate, could help a lot of children/adults with social difficulties and make Hallowe'en a much nicer experience for them.
"Most autism parents are willing to answer questions but sometimes we can feel drained from feeling like we are in a repeat-explaining situation when all we and our child wants is to have an experience or attend an event just like typical children.
"The blue bucket is making people keep an open mind so we don’t have to explain ourselves at every single special occasion."