Halloween is intended to be a fun and festive holiday to embrace being who you want to be. For parents of children with Autism, it may bring on feelings of worry, doubt or uncertainty of how to celebrate. Your child has likely anticipated this holiday too, positively or even with some worry. With a little planning and preparation you and your child will be well on your way to an amazing Halloween celebration. To ensure a smooth holiday, here are some tips to consider as we approach Trick-or-treat season:

  1. Make your child excited and comfortable in their choice of attire, costume or not, simply be festive. Have your child propose a few costume ideas and even try a few. Maybe it’s last year’s costume, or maybe it’s a fun Halloween T-Shirt, whatever you decide on, it’s all about your child having fun and becoming whatever or whomever they want to become this Halloween. Consider the weather when choosing attire as well, the weather can often surprise us on the day of festivities. Focus on the experience being fun, don’t sweat the costume.
  2. Do what will be fun for your child and remember, don’t sweat the small stuff. Embrace what comes of the trick-or-treat journey and keep in mind, it’s not always about quantity of candy; it’s about quality of the experience. Extra Tip: If your child is new to trick-or-treating, practice the process at home and let a few close neighbors know ahead a time to praise and encourage your child.
  3. Highlight Autism Awareness by getting crafty with your pumpkins. Decorate or carve using inspiration from past pumpkins.
  4. Throw a small, sensory-friendly Halloween party at your house. This gives you the opportunity to choose to celebrate with planned activities in lieu of, or in addition to trick-or-treating. Choose festive activities that you know the group will enjoy while avoiding sensory triggers.
  5. If your child may not be able to say Happy Halloween and Trick-or-Treat to others this Halloween you can use a print-out to wish a Happy Halloween and to also say Trick-or-treat.

Help your child get to know the Trick-or-Treat routine early. You can start to discuss Halloween expectations one to two weeks before Halloween activities start to take place. This will allow time for your child to become familiar with the routine. Once the day arrives, remind your child of the routine as needed, give them guidance to encourage their success as they approach the door to the first house and continue to support and guide them with the steps, as needed.

Remember, a child with autism does not need to be left on the sidelines this Halloween. You can prepare your child to participate in the festivities and trick-or-treat this Halloween by preparing in advance for accommodations your child may need in order to make this a fun, safe, and memorable Halloween.