February 23, 2018

Halloween “Tricks” for Children with Autism

By Elizabeth Murcie, PNP

Halloween can be a fun and spirited time of year for children. Dressing up in costumes, getting candy, having parties, and decorating pumpkins is all part of this holiday fun. But, for some children with sensory, communication, or social difficulties, the festivities can be unpleasant. Autism Speaks, a non-for-profit advocacy group for families with autism, has compiled a few tricks or tips for this Halloween season.

  1. Practice trick or treating in your home prior to the “big night”. Have your child knock on a bedroom door to rehearse “Trick or Treat!” and the action of receiving candy
  1. Store-bought costumes may not “feel” right. Think of making the costumes at home. All green sweatpants with leaves and small sticks glued on…. Poof it’s a tree. All black soft clothes with black face-painted nose and ears on a headband…. Poof it’s a cat. Another option is just a Halloween-themed shirt that your child already likes.
  1. Ask a few neighbors ahead of time to provide something specific for when your child comes to the door as an alternative, in case they don’t like candy. This way they can still participate without feeling “different”.
  1. It may be hard for your child to communicate, but may still very much want to participate. This is a great example of what to hand over to the neighbor at the trick-or-treating door.
  1. Enjoy the holiday. Have fun as long as your child is. Don’t worry about a “meltdown”. And, if your child really doesn’t want to partake, that’s okay too!!