Halloween is an exciting holiday for kids; however, it may present obstacles and challenges for children affected by autism spectrum disorder. Here are some tips to help your family plan for a successful Halloween celebration this year.
- Scan & Plan: walk through your neighborhood and scan for any decorations, loud noises, animals, etc. that might cause a change in your child’s behavior
- Bring your child with you and encourage him/her to identify what they like and don’t like.
- Turn this into a fun activity with your child and plan the fun night together by drawing a map for the trick-or-treating route!
- Create a visual story (or work with your BCBA) that matches the route you and your child have outlined. Include pictures to help your child prepare for the day’s activities
- Set expectations: maybe trick-or-treating to just a couple of houses is a lot for your kiddo, maybe your kiddo needs a maximum # of houses as their limit. Identify the expectation and review regularly before the big day
- Try on costumes before-hand! Make sure the costume is comfortable, without material or accessories that are irritating
- Practice with a neighbor before-hand
- Practice important safety skills like crossing the street, holding hands or staying near an adult
- Practice an appropriate break request, walking door to door can be tiring for all of us!
On The Day of Halloween
- Know your child’s limits and only do what they can handle
- Timing is everything-go earlier if your child is afraid of the dark (likely to be more quiet early on as well)
- Go with friends or family that your child enjoys spending time with· Most importantly, have fun! Take comfort in your preparation and enjoy the holiday with your kiddo!