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Spalding columnist Callum Brazzo is figuring out the mixed messages in Halloween

By Spalding Today Columnist

Halloween this week. When we sexualize nurses and paint pumpkins BLUE!

Okay, so I have mixed feelings about this ‘holiday’ for a range of reasons so if you want to enjoy Halloween without a buzz kill and a downer on things…stop reading.

Now we’ve cleared that up, the primary purpose of Halloween or so I thought, was to be scared.

Autistic author Callum Brazzo (18088898)
Autistic author Callum Brazzo (18088898)

It’s a surprise then to know that a Big Head Evil Gnome and an Inflatable Alien turn up after searching ‘Popular Halloween costumes 2019.’

Go on, do it. You’ll see.

And I’ve been in shops and seen in films that ‘hot zombies’ and sexy nurses exist among the array of designs to adorn one’s body.

Halloween Pumpkin isolated on white background (19683569)
Halloween Pumpkin isolated on white background (19683569)

Am I aroused by women? Yes.

Should I be aroused by someone who, out of the context of this ‘scary’ holiday, is there to save my life?

I don’t think so. It’s very odd and conflicting.


Would most of us know that, if we were dying and needed a nurse, sexual behaviour isn't socially appropriate? Probably yes because I’m willing to bet that, when you’re at risk of losing your life, real-life situations and emotions overpower those sensations.

Having a sports injury and being conscious whilst a professional or a friend rubbing some ointment in or whatever and I’m also willing to bet that some people would take advantage of the situation in the name of being ‘cheeky’ or ‘having a laugh.’

This isn’t just at Halloween and I could mention bartenders, office staff and police officers here to make my point.

Why is it okay for adults to dress up in these guises that have extremely serious roles in society for the sake of ‘fun?’ How are we communicating the difference to those who may be unable to filter what is contextually appropriate or not?

An autistic man with an associated learning difficulty may see a nurse looking sexy at Halloween, get aroused, and then apply that mental image to an actual hospital nurse doing her job and potentially be deemed inappropriate.

You would hope that the hospital would be made aware of any associated learning difficulties or differences in perception/communication but this doesn’t always happen and people are messed about, victimized, discriminated against and excluded from society.

So many mixed messages.

I’m not saying to censor all of Halloween but I just find it fascinating how we deliver these messages and expect others to know when to filter them.

And the mixed messages continue with blue pumpkins.

Now then, I’m not a fan of the colour blue when it’s about representing autistic people…in fact it DOESN’T represent autistic people.

It represents Autism Speaks and its approach to autistic people and I can never support that.

Blue pumpkins are, from what I can understand, a symbol to the public that you are autistic and therefore it’s better to adopt a different approach to the typical trick or treat. Sounds good, right?

The further you delve into the issue, I’m reading about the symbol being easier to single out autistic people for potential hate crime and, again, the history of the colour blue. Why blue!?

Red and gold are my colours of choice with the infinity symbol being my symbol of choice over the puzzle piece.

But honestly, I have had to filter the social media blitz out of my life in regards to the pumpkins and A LOT of other things.

More and more, I find myself filtering the world out of my life because if I didn’t, my life would be absorbed in so much news, so many causes and I can’t be dealing with it.

I cannot stress enough how bad my executive functioning can be (skills in planning, organizing and executing) and adding to that, the politics of the autistic community and communities in general.

How do I filter the awful murder case of Zoe Whitford, the atrocities of the Judge Rotenberg Center, blue pumpkins and ABA which all affect the wider community and dance, parkour and relationships which are individually important factors in my life into one readable column?

How do you filter all of that?

After I write this column, and probably after you’ve read it too, I’m going for a walk.

It’s 12 at night. I don’t care.

I NEED space. Not cyberspace. Personal. Space.

I try my best to spread these issues across several columns and give everyone an insight and, with a year in columns, I’d say I’m doing pretty well, but sometimes exposure is so much worse than not knowing.

As if I’m actually scared by a film and closing my eyes, that’s how I feel sometimes with what I have to filter in and out of my life.

Ignorance really is bliss.

I guess I’m trying to say that with the social complexities of life already, Halloween and the politics of the community I engage with as an autistic man and just as a man in society, I’m like Stephen King.

Figuring It out.

Ciao for now!

Further Reading And Events:

Autistic Lincs Facebook Page:


Rainbow Stars Disability Hub Opening:


David Snape – Born To Inspire:


Shop access, service and staff campaign to recognize work in the community:

#ShopabilitynotSTOPability (Facebook or Twitter)

100 Day Community Kit Facebook Page:


Autism Inclusivity – for parents and carers direct from autistic adults Facebook Page:


Neurologic Podcast:


Body Of Evidence Podcast:


Zoe Whitford:


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