Halloween is a fun-filled holiday that many children look forward to as soon as the fall weather begins to arrive. However, if you are a parent of a child with Autism, then you might have a few misgivings about the festive day. Don’t let your worries or fears get the best of you, these tips and tricks will help you and your child make the most out of this classic holiday.
Halloween & Autism
Halloween is a fun holiday that children of all ages enjoy participating in. From the costumes to gathering candy, to seeing friends and loved ones, this special holiday can be filled with unforeseen pitfalls for children with behavioral problems. Parents can face many challenges when trick or treating with their children, but nonverbal trick or treating presents a different situation. Whether you have a toddler with behavioral issues or a nonverbal child, the following tips will help make Halloween a fun-filled day for children with Autism.
- Choose the right costumes. — Costumes are definitely one of the best parts about Halloween. However, the challenge with costumes for children living on the spectrum is that they are typically made from itchy and noisy fabrics. With these potential visual, touch, and auditory challenges, you can avoid a potential meltdown by making your child’s costume. Choose fabrics and materials that they are familiar with, and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box.
- Choose the right event. — Trick or treating can be a loud and boisterous event as children race down neighborhood streets, are scared by carefully decorated lawns, and eagerly ring doorbells to claim their next treat. If your child would benefit from nonverbal trick or treating, then you should carefully choose the right type of event that supports your child’s communication skills. For example, you might decide to go trick or treating earlier in the day. Alternatively, you could choose to attend one of the less crowded events leading up to the holiday. You can also help your child avoid challenging situations by creating a child that lends itself to their nonverbal tendencies. From mimes to Ariel from the Little Mermaid, there are countless costumes that will keep your child smiling without forcing a verbal interaction.
- Choose the right candy rule. — Candy is one of the highlights of Halloween. However, the sugary treats can also lead to extreme behavioral problems as children want to eat candy to their heart’s content. Before you begin trick or treating, make sure that you establish clear candy rules. For example, your children might be able to gather as much candy as they want, but only eat 3 pieces that night. Alternatively, you might encourage your children to “sell” their candy for another type of reward, such as watching a show before bed or getting a new toy. With a little creative thinking you can ensure that your children don’t consume too much candy, while still helping them enjoy a safe and fun night.
Enjoy Halloween With The Right Approach
Whether you have a two-year old or a teenager with Autism, enjoying Halloween is made easier with the right approach. To recap, if you want to have the best Halloween that avoids common pitfalls and behavioral triggers, then you will need to:
- Choose the right costumes.
- Choose the right trick or treating events.
- Choose the right candy rule.
Through the above strategies, you can create positive memories on Halloween. For additional insights that can help your child overcome their occupational, physical, or behavioral challenges, contact the Infinite Therapy Solutions team. For the past 20 years our team has proudly helped parents and children throughout New Jersey. We look forward to helping you and children leave full lives, especially this holiday season as they don their best costumes and enjoy trick or treating on Halloween.