How to trick-or-treat with autism

If your children with autism or sensory processing disorder WANT to participate in Halloween activities, there is no reason why they can’t.

Yes, really.

Your Halloween might not look like your neighbor’s or your best friend’s or even your own from childhood, but that doesn’t mean it’s less special to your child. Find out what your child wants to do, and then:

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

* Let them choose costumes that make them feel good. Superhero pajamas, a favorite hat, or even their favorite regular clothing are just fine. (Note: I hope no would make an ugly comment to a child not wearing a costume, but if they do, you have the opportunity to kindly educate! If you don’t want to use words, you can silently hand them an informational card. Don’t forget a smile.)
* Practice the words or signs to use.
* Talk through what to expect, if this is their first time.
* Make or find a social story.
* Act out the plan with their favorite toy. (Use dolls, action figures, trains, cars, blocks, crayons – anything can have a “voice”!)

2. Plan an escape.
* If traveling by car, don’t hold yourself hostage to another person’s timetable. Drive your own.
* Know the layout of where you are going (carnival, festival, neighborhood, etc.) so you can quickly get to a “safe zone” or your car.
* If your children seem nervous or hesitant, assure them that they can stop/leave at any time.
* Have comfort items on hand for decompression.

How does your family do Halloween? I’d love to hear! Leave it in the comments or drop me a line at meredithdangel(at)gmail(dot)com.


New here? Glad you made it! I write about my unique joys and challenges as Mom to Henry, a smart, tender, quick­-witted, train-loving, autistic 8-­year­-old with an infectious smile. I long to encourage autism parents and empower all to see inclusivity doesn’t have to be difficult - it can be beautiful. Like what you see? Sign up here to receive news and occasional freebies just for insiders.

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