Autism- The Best Halloween Tips.
The time is coming. In just under three weeks, some of my readers will be celebrating Halloween with their autistic children. The 31st of October can present many challenges to Autistic Children. So many factors can ruin this special day for our kids. Some are sensory, like itchy costumes, and different food (in treats). Lights can be too bright, and it could be noisy. With unpredictability and many people around, it sounds like a perfect recipe for a disaster.
Hang on a minute... Halloween can still be an enjoyable time for your little ones! Preparation and careful planning can help you stay stress-free. Whether this is your child’s first Halloween or not, here are some ideas to help you and your child enjoy this special day.
Before Halloween: Tips for Autistic Children.
Create a visual story of what Halloween may be like for your child with some pictures or drawings. This will help your child prepare for the day’s activities. You can find an attached file with the free Halloween social story, ready to print.
Try on costumes before Halloween. If the costume is uncomfortable or doesn’t fit right, it may cause unnecessary distress and ruin their fun.
Here you can find fantastic options for Halloween costumes for your child https://www.pretendtobee.co.uk/
If your child does not like their costume, don’t make them wear it. Instead, discuss the situation with your child and try to uncover why they don’t like it. After you talk with your child, they may gradually get used to the costume. Have them wear it for short periods and at increasing intervals over time.
Consider a Halloween costume that fits over your child’s regular clothes, such as butterfly wings or capes.
Practice going to a neighbour’s door, ringing the bell, knocking, and receiving sweets. We can all find one or two families that would happily help to prepare your child for Halloween.
Halloween Day: Tips for a Successful Celebration.
Know your child’s limits and do only what they can handle. For example, if your child is uncomfortable trick-or-treating, you can start by going to one or two houses. Assess how your child is doing and build up to more homes the following year.
Partner with family and friends that your child likes.
If you are giving out sweets at your home, give your child the option to participate. During the day, practice greeting people and giving out sweets.
If your child is afraid of going out at night, plan indoor or daytime Halloween activities.
Plan a Familiar Route: Stick to a route your child knows, such as visiting neighbours you know well. Familiarity can reduce anxiety.
Communication Cards: Provide your child with communication cards or a communication device if they have difficulty speaking. This can help them express their needs or communicate with others.
Consider Alternative Activities: If trick-or-treating is too overwhelming, you can enjoy alternative activities like a Halloween-themed movie night at home or a sensory-friendly event in your community.
Offer Choices: Give your child choices within the Halloween experience, such as whether to say "trick or treat" or "thank you" when receiving sweets.
Safety Precautions: Ensure your child has proper identification, such as an ID bracelet or a card with contact information, in case they get separated from you.
Treats Alternatives: If your child has dietary restrictions or sensory sensitivities, you can offer non-food treats like stickers, small toys, or glow sticks to neighbours to hand out.
Quiet Space: If your child gets overwhelmed during trick-or-treating, have a designated quiet space they can retreat to for a break.
Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement to encourage and reward your child's participation in Halloween activities.
Celebrate at Home: Alternatively, try to host a Halloween celebration at home where your child can enjoy a sensory-friendly environment with familiar faces.
Remember that every child with autism is unique, and their preferences and sensitivities may vary. It's essential to be flexible and prioritise your child's comfort and enjoyment during Halloween. Planning ahead and making adjustments as needed can create a memorable and positive Halloween experience for your family.
Thank you for reading, and please share in the comments all your Halloween tips you could support with other parents of autistic children. I am sure they will be greatly appreciated.