and the inflated cost of candy. However, perhaps the scariest part of Halloween is trying to understand it through the eyes of our kids with autism. So how do we make this spooky night less of a nightmare? It becomes even more important to be prepared and plan ahead. Costumes, noise, shift in schedule, social interactions, decorations, and darkness can all be an extra challenge for kids with ASD. Preparation and planning can help you and your family have a fun and exciting Halloween.
Some simple strategies for choosing a costume can save you a lot of stress on Halloween.
- Pick clothes that are comfortable as a base for costumes
- Try using makeup and accessories instead of a mask which can feel scratchy or overwhelming
- Try on the costume far enough in advance that adjustments can be made if necessary
- Have a backup plan. Don’t force your child into an uncomfortable costume
Another strategy that could prove helpful is to turn your child’s favorite hoodie into a fun costume. You already know they’re comfortable in the sweatshirt and, as an added measure of comfort, you can attach your child’s favorite sensory chew, Cord Zilla, to most sweatshirts. Check out our Pinterest board for costume ideas made from hoodies! https://www.pinterest.com/chubuddy/halloween-costume-ideas-for-the-cord-zilla/
Ensuring your child is comfortable in their costume and providing them with coping and soothing tools is a perfect way to avoid any costume struggles.
Prepare and Plan:
- Scope out the neighborhood beforehand. Look at the decorations, is there anything too scary?
- Go before it gets dark. There’s a lot of activity on Halloween night. The noise, extra people, costumes, decorations, AND the dark would be sensory overload for most anyone, it has the potential to be even worse for kids with ASD.
- Discuss the rules of trick-or-treating. Help your child understand what social interactions will be asked of them. Make sure they’re comfortable with it. If not, bring a sibling or friend along to help with that part.
It’s not uncommon for kids with ASD or other sensory disorders to skip the Halloween festivities because it can be so overwhelming. Those who do participate often spend time — sometimes weeks — practicing with parents, therapists, and teachers to prepare for what will happen. By preparing and planning, you can eliminate some of the uncertainties. This can help ensure you and your child enjoy the holiday in the way that’s right for your family! Happy Halloween from Chubuddy!