Halloween can be an exciting and fun time for kids however all of the changes and sensory input may present challenges for kids with ASD. Here are some tips that may help Halloween be less scary and more spooky!
- Try on your child’s costume before Halloween. This will give enough time to check on and fix any sensory issues with costume material, tags, or other sensory issues.
- Create a social story about what to expect during Halloween and Trick-or-Treating and read it daily. This helps you child learn what to expect which helps to decrease anxiety.
- Practice! Perhaps have your child ring your own doorbell, in costume, say trick-or-treat and receive candy or a small toy. Practice serves a similar purpose to the social story in that it helps the child know what to expect.
- Only do what your child feels comfortable with. Some children may go to 3 or 4 neighborhoods trick-or-treating. Perhaps you know that your child can only handle 3 or 4 houses. That’s OK! It’s better to end on a calm and positive note which helps set the stage for successful Halloweens to come as your child will remember that s/he was successful this year.
- Go with a group. For some children, friends and/or family of other children may help him/her feel more comfortable and supported. Additional adults may also help you, as parents, to have additional support should the need arise.
- Hand out candy. If going out trick-or-treating feels overwhelming this year, stay home and hand out candy. Your child can hand out candy to the other children who come to the door. This allows him/her to participate in the holiday festivities in what feels more safe for him/her this year
- Trunk or treat. Some areas have community events like Trunk-or-treat or trick or treating in a mall. This may be a good option for some children as it’s a place they may be familiar with and it is often not at night which can bring about different worries or sensory difficulties.
- Remain positive. Remember that our children are barometers of our own emotions. Remaining calm and positive models that for your child and send him/her the message that you believe in them and are accepting of them.
- Avoid comparison. Comparison is the thief of joy. Remember that your holiday may look different than those posted on Facebook by your friends. That’s OK! Whatever feels right for you and your child is the “right” kind of Halloween for you
- Have fun! This is an opportunity to experience something new or different with your child and to potentially relive some of your own childhood. Enjoy it!
Holidays are meant to be fun events. Sometimes they can bring about some additional stress and/or worry however with preparation, they can be great opportunities to spend time with your child. I’d love to hear how you make Halloween work for you and your family!