Halloween Tricks!

Halloween can be a very scary time for many children, but especially for kids with autism. If your family participates in Halloween festivities, this is a must read to help prepare your child for the evening’s events.

There are many things that occur on October 31st that are unusual including: your doorbell constantly ringing, people walking around in costumes, strange noises, music, lots of people walking around your neighborhood, and loads and loads of candy landing on your countertop. You can set your child up for success ahead of time, by preparing him for these changes.

      1. Write a story explaining what he can expect. If you are going trick or treating, write out the steps involved in this process.
      2. If your child tends to meltdown from the doorbell ringing when you are at home (because it can be overwhelming to his senses and it’s unpredictable), place a sign over the doorbell that says please knock.
      3. If you have dogs that constantly bark when someone comes to the door, consider placing a bowl of candy on your porch or in front of the house instead (or consider alternate plans for your pups).
      4. If your child wants to wear a costume, consider allowing him to practice wearing the costume days before Halloween to help him get ready for the big day.
      5. Before Halloween, role play different scenarios and situations that may occur. You can even video-record these scenes and play them back for him. Talk about what you are watching and any changes that should be made.
      6. If your child is non-verbal, you can create a sign for him to hold up that says, “Trick or Treat!” Then, when he goes to someone’s door, he can hold up his sign.
      7. Did you know that a blue/teal pumpkin represents food allergies and sometimes even autism? If you want to be the house in the neighborhood that supports kids with allergies (or you want to start an awesome trend), place some blue pumpkins on your porch or front stoop. Fill some containers with non-food items and smile knowing that you are making life easier for so many families.
      8. Carrying a blue pumpkin basket when trick or treating can help people understand your child’s needs. There is a new trend happening across the world, the blue pumpkin. If your child has a tricky time, but still wants to trick or treat, try painting a pumpkin basket blue. This could help others understand that your child has autism (or food allergies), without you having to constantly explain everything. However, there’s nothing wrong with explanations either; the blue pumpkin is a great way to provide autism education to strangers.
      9. If your child is sensitive to certain foods, or doesn’t eat sugar, but he still wants to trick or treat, try this. Buy some healthy alternatives that he can trade his “loot” for instead. When you get home from trick or treating, he can trade out the junk food for treats that he is allowed to eat. The treats can also be non-edible items, such as toys, toy cars, coloring books, or even gaming apps.
      10. If your child is totally terrified of Halloween, no worries. You can still make this day a special event for him by sitting at home and watching a fun movie.


Do you celebrate Halloween? If so, how does your child feel about it?



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