I really love Halloween (even though I am not a fan of being scared, go figure)! In all seriousness, jump out at me and I might not sleep for a week! This is probably why I am so passionate about providing tips to help all children participate in this holiday. I understand what it is like to NOT enjoy certain aspects of it while still wanting to participate in the fun parts. Previously, I provided an article on how to prepare your child for Halloween & trick-or-treating but today I am going to give a few more tips that I have found to be useful for all children (with and without autism and/or sensory processing disorder).
What do I do when my child has a restricted diet?
There are several things you could do here. You can map out where you are going to trick-or-treat and if you feel comfortable you could drop off things (ahead of time) that those neighbors can give to your child when they come to the door. It takes some planning ahead, but it can save you a lot of heartache later when you don’t have to take your child’s candy away. Think: small treats that are safe for your child or small toys (dollar store has some great items). If you choose to let your child take the candy, you may need to plan ahead to show them either 1. which candies they can choose from the bowl and/or 2. make a game out of it when they get home and see if they can find the candies on the “keep” list and separate those from the rest (then donate the others or eat them yourself, heehee). If you are going to help them sort out their candy it would be a good idea to discuss this with them BEFORE they go trick-or-treating so that you don’t have an absolute meltdown after the fact. Lastly, you could also offer to trade the candy for a highly motivating item that you KNOW they will want (but you need to have this ready and explain this ahead of time as well). For example, if your child LOVES mine craft, video games, or a character from a TV show for the younger kiddos it can help to choose an item related to that favorite thing (you want it to be more motivating than keeping the candy).
My child refuses to wear anything, including the free sign you created and they are nonverbal. Any other suggestions?
Absolutely! My next suggestion is to BUDDY UP! If you have a sibling that can buddy up with your child or a neighbor/ friend that knows how to trick-or-treat…that is the next step. The idea here is that child can walk-up to the door, ring the bell and help your child by giving them a voice. They can tell them, this is my friend and he doesn’t talk but if he could he would say trick-or-treat (or whatever you can get that child to do to help advocate for your child). Children really enjoy when their peers advocate for them in situations where they may not want mom or dad being that voice 😉 If you don’t have that person, you can absolutely step in to help as well!
My child elopes. I am afraid to take them trick-or-treating in the dark. Help!
A few ideas here. 1. Get your child something that glows. It can be a glow stick that they wear, light up shoes or a hat, glow in the dark tape that you can put on their clothing so they can’t feel it but you can see them. Get creative here! You also may want to consider trick-or-treating on the earlier side before it gets dark. This is when the younger kids tend to go so it may be less crowded, which can help as well!
I am afraid I am going to prepare for trick-or-treating and my child is going to have a last minute meltdown and all this preparation will be for nothing.
This is a valid concern and you are NOT alone. Even with all the preparation, your child may just be too overwhelmed or decide they don’t want to go/cooperate at the last minute. He OKAY with this! We don’t want to force fun on them…then it wont really be fun anymore, will it? If this happens or your child starts trick-or-treating and is completely over it after visiting a few homes, go home! Maybe they want to help hand out candy at your home. OR check out your local area to see if there are activities you can do if you think the constant door bell ringing and children at your front door may be overwhelming to your child. Be prepared in case you need to remove your child from the Halloween commotion altogether. As a last resort, you can make some popcorn, put on a movie and turn off your front lights 😉 You may feel bummed but remember it’s supposed to be FUN, not stressful!
Here’s to a FABULOUS Halloween…however it turns out!