Tips and Tricks to make Halloween a Success for your Child with Autism

3D Man with Halloween pumpkin isolated over a white background
Halloween is a time filled with games, crafts, treats and costumes. This can sometimes feel overwhelming to both children with autism as well as their families. However, with a little preparation, the kids can join in the fun too! Below you will find some tips and tricks to make trick-or-treating a success for your child with autism…
1) Practice, practice, practice! In the days leading up to Halloween, have your child practice wearing his/her costume. Many costumes have accessories that your child may not be used to, such as belts, hats and crowns. Give them a chance to get used to the new item by having him wear it around the house. Have him wear it while watching a favorite video, playing a preferred game or dancing to a fun song. Practice knocking on a door, waiting for someone to answer and say “trick or treat” when the door is opened. Finally, practice the directions you may give your child during trick or treating, such as stop, wait and come here. It is important to practice these skills when your child is not faced with the excitement that comes with trick or treating so he will be ready to shine when the time comes.
2) Keep it simple. You don’t have to buy an intricate costume or walk the entire neighborhood to get the experience of trick or treating. Put a cape on and you have yourself a super hero, wrap a bandana around his head and he is a pirate. You may decide to hit up just a few houses versus the entire neighborhood to keep it successful. Remember that this is supposed to be fun!
3) Get your neighbors involved. Many children with autism have dietary restrictions or allergies that prevent them from eating your standard trick or treating fare. If you are friendly with your neighbors, you may consider bringing some treats that they can give your child when he comes to their door. Some ideas include sensory toys, stickers, glow sticks, etc. This allows your child to participate in the festivities while being safe.
These tips have served us well in our clinic and we hope they help you too! Have a fun, safe, and successful Halloween!
Wicked wishes,
~Jessica Tillley, MS Ed., BCBA

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