Halloween is an exciting holiday for kids. It can also be scary, eventful, and full of surprises– all things that parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder might find worrisome. That is why we decided to compile some tips for enjoying time with your loved one with ASD this Halloween!
Plan Your Route
In the week or days leading up to trick or treating, plan the streets and even the homes you plan to visit! Finding a quiet, unfrequented street beforehand can greatly reduce the risk of meltdowns. You can make a map and take it with you on the day of the main event. A parent or family member can be put in charge of carrying the candy bag to eliminate the task for your child as well.
Do a Dress Rehearsal
The days leading up to trick or treating, have your child practice putting on and wearing the costume a few times. Also, touring the route by visiting it prior to the main event can prevent the surprise of unfamiliarity. Practice knocking on a door for a trick or treat run through too! This can eliminate first-time jitters and discomfort coinciding with sensory overload on Halloween. Practicing a run through is an important idea if your child has difficulty with crowds or a new environment.
Make “Trick or Treat” Cards or Bags
If your loved one does not communicate verbally, a great idea would be to make a notecard or bag! It can state that they have ASD, explaining they don’t communicate well. It can have “Trick or Treat!” on one side, and “Thank You!” on the other. Here is an example of a candy bag:
Noise Canceling Headphones
If sensory overload is a concern for Halloween, a great idea would be to have your loved one with ASD wear noise-canceling headphones. It can be a part of his/her costume whether it matches or not because, on Halloween, anything goes! These can eliminate the loud, unexpected noises of other kids on the same street as you.
Going with friends might increase the level of fun for your child. The excitement of other kids can feel contagious and can help make your child’s experience a fun one. Although you know your child and whether or not this will be best!
Good Ghouls Go Home
Overall, we wish you a positive Halloween experience with your loved one with ASD. We hope these tips are useful in making this holiday the best possible. And don’t forget, if you are in the northern Virginia area feel free to join the Helping Hands Halloween Fall festival!