Yellow pumpkins highlight children with disabilities trick-or-treating

Yellow Pumpkin Parade pumpkin (October 17,2017/FOX Carolina News)

The Yellow Pumpkin Parade is helping special needs children get less tricks and more treats this Halloween.

After seeing the teal pumpkin project for children with food allergies, one Upstate mom is starting a similar project for children with disabilities. It's called the Yellow Pumpkin Parade, and its goal is to bring awareness to children with disabilities while they trick or treat this year.

Laura Slatter came up with the idea last year when her 4-year-old son was denied candy because he couldn't say the words "trick or treat". Her son who has been diagnosed with apraxia of speech is nonverbal and was trying his best to say the phrase correctly, but it wasn't enough for the homeowner. It was the end to his trick or treating that night. Heartbroken, Laura wanted to make sure this never happened to her son or any child with disabilities again. She's hoping the yellow pumpkins will help people better understand kids with disabilities and allow them to feel accepted at every door.

Slatter says, "I know of families that don't go trick-or-treating because they're scared this might happen or they have other special needs and they're scared of not being accepted."

It's important for people to be understanding. Children with disabilities may take a handful of candy even when they are told just to take one or two.

Slatter explains, "they may not have those motor skills to be able to take that one or two and they just went in and did what they could."

There are also others like her son who are nonverbal, and some who struggle with sensory issues.

Slatter continues, "someone who is not dressed in full costume because they have sensory issues, they may look older than the age cut-off, but mentally they still want to go trick or treating and a piece of candy can make a child's day that much better."

She says she would hope there's already kindness and acceptance from people who are giving out candy and wanting to see these children to come up to trick or treat, but it's expectations that can put a damper on that kindness.

"You're expecting a child to say trick or treat and you're expecting a child to be dressed," Slatter explains, "but if your expectation is to just be kind then you wont have a problem already giving the child their candy and if you recognize the yellow pumpkin then that's just one thing better."

This year they are going to be providing one thousand yellow bags for children with disabilities. They will be arriving on October 24 and can be picked up at the Family Connection of Greenville and Spartanburg and Dixie Messer Mirror and Glass in Greer on Tuesday, October 24th through Halloween night, October 31st. They also encourage others to make their own yellow bags or yellow pumpkins if they want.

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