5 Tips to Prepare your Autistic Child for Halloween
Prepare, prepare, prepare! The novelty of Halloween is what we all love about this fall holiday, but for children with autism, the idea of a scary ghost coming out of the closet screaming “BOO!!” is not exactly a good time. The lack of routine that Halloween holidays bring can be quite challenging, not to mention the social aspect of trick-or-treating to strangers around your neighborhood. To ease the stressful times, here are a few tips to help you and your family prepare!
- Visually and verbally communicate Halloween customs
Halloween has a bunch of different rules and guidelines. As the first step, you can demonstrate the various aspects of Halloween by acting it out, drawing it, or telling it as a story. Doing this on a yearly basis, will remind them of last year and hopefully make it an easier transition.
- Try on costumes first
Talk about what costumes they would be interested in. Something simple and physically comfortable that could be worn over their clothes might just be enough, such as a Captain America T-shirt, Batman cape or fairy wings. If it is something more elaborate, first try having them wear it for a few minutes at a time and then gradually increase the intervals. They may need a while to become accustomed to the tactile sensations of the new costume.
- Practice trick-or-treating
Try to do this week’s beforehand. To become comfortable with something new, it must eventually become a routine. So, slowly start introducing Halloween activities like trick-or-treating on a daily basis. Begin in your own home, and then try with a familiar neighbor’s house. If they are still not comfortable asking for candy, then use these adorable non-verbal Trick or Treat cards:
- Dietary Restrictions
Depending on your child’s diet, a bucket full of sugar may not be the best option. They may not even be interested in candy. If so, you can prepare ahead of time and visit a few neighbors to give them small toys or baked goods that you made yourself and ask them to give that away instead.
- Adjust the night to their individual needs
Leading up to the night of Halloween, keep in mind what your child is capable of and comfortable with, and then prepare. For example, bring earplugs and a comfort toy to calm them if there is too much of a sensory overload. You may only get to walk around one block and go to a few houses, but that may be more than enough of a Halloween experience for your young one. It’s not just Halloween night that is important, but the whole experience in preparing for it as well.
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