Halloween is an exciting night and creates lasting childhood memories for both kids and parents. Here are some strategies that will help prepare your child on the spectrum for a night of ghouls, goblins, critters and candy.
The first thing you should do to get your child on the spectrum excited about Halloween and a night of trick or treating is to let them pick a Halloween costume they will feel comfortable in. Some children on the spectrum can be sensitive to face makeup or masks. If the costume calls for either, find alternative ways create the look your child is going for. Glue popsicle sticks to a mask so that they don’t have to wear it on their face, but have the option to present the mask if they choose to.
Always try to do a Halloween dress rehearsal before the big night. Have your child on the spectrum put on the complete costume and role play by going to a family, neighbor, or friend’s home and practicing saying “trick or treat”, holding their basket or bag out and saying “thank you” after they receive their candy. Remind your child to be polite, wait their turn, and take one piece of candy.
It is important to establish your guidelines in advance. Prepare your child with autism for what to expect on Halloween. Let me know what time they will be going trick or treating, for how long they can expect to be out. Explain to them that they can only go to homes with their lights on. Give them specific guidelines of what streets they can be on and the fact that they need to stay near you, a family member or a friend’s parents. Use visuals if it is easier for your child on the spectrum to understand what to expect on Halloween night. Remember to review everything right before you set out to start your evening.
Candy guidelines are also a factor that needs to be taken into consideration. Children can become very excited when it comes to candy. Set rules on how much candy they are allowed to have in a day. Before you go trick or treating make sure your child on the spectrum knows to bring all the candy home and give it to you so that you can check it before they eat it. Create a chart on when your child is allowed to eat candy and how many pieces they can have.
With guidelines in place and expectations managed, your child will have an incredibly fun night of trick or treating and you will create special Halloween memories that will last a lifetime.