Snug Vest

Autistic child getting ready 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!


  1. 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. 

Halloween drawing for autistic children


  1. 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.

Attachable fairy wings for autistic Halloween costume 


  1. 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:


Non-verbal cards for autistic children trick-or-treating on Halloween


  1. 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.

Candy alternatives for autistic children with a sensory diet on Halloween


  1. 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.


Happy Halloween for people with autism and other sensory disorders

If you liked this article, check out these:

6 Tips for Thanksgiving with Autism
Autism-Friendly Holiday Tips
What is Tactile Dysfunction?

Written by Ryan Leung — October 30, 2015



Cute picture!

November 10 2015

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