Halloween is this weekend, and for many families, it’s a holiday full of creative costumes, delicious candy, and spooky decorations. But for families of a child with autism, preparing for the festivities can be a challenging and even stressful time. You can help your child feel more comfortable and enjoy the holiday by planning ahead. Here are some tips to help prepare your child for a fun-filled Halloween night.
Plan in Advance
It is best to discuss with your child the concept of Halloween and the activities they get to participate in when the time comes. Be sure to discuss:
- Where you will go
- Who and what you will see
- What you will do
- What your child will wear
Because the COVID-19 virus is still a widespread concern, some communities may not advise taking your kids trick-or-treating. If you plan on staying at home, you and your child can hand out candy together, hold a socially distanced costume contest, or watch a Halloween movie. No matter what activities you plan, make sure you talk to your child beforehand, so they know what to expect.
Choose the Costume
Have your child try on their costume before Halloween. You should buy or make a costume that is comfortable, safe, and creative. Children with sensory issues may want to wear it over their regular clothes. Try choosing one with a fabric that is not too scratchy, tight, or stiff to avoid unnecessary distress. If you are taking your child trick or treating, label their costume, clothing, and bag with a name and a contact number to be safe.
Many children with autism have difficulty picking up on social cues, so understanding holiday traditions may be difficult for them. Take the time to practice trick-or-treating. Ask some friends and family to help so you can practice visiting a few homes. Letting your practice this experience first will help them be more comfortable with the real thing. You will also get a better idea of what challenges you may need to prepare for when the time comes.
Set Rules and Expectations
Discuss rules and expectations with your child. How crowded do you expect your neighborhood to be? Will your child be walking with you or with a buddy? It is essential to plan your route around the neighborhood, so your child knows which houses are safe. It is a good idea to pick familiar areas to take your child to. Friendly faces and familiar surroundings will help the day go more smoothly for them.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.