Halloween, with all its costumes, tricks and treats, can be a particularly over stimulating-and in some cases, highly upsetting-event for children with autism. You can help your autistic child enjoy the day with these tips.
Celebrate Halloween with Your Autistic Child Tip #1: Prepare
Using a picture story to map out what to expect on Halloween visually for your child with autism is a great help. If you decide that you’d like to throw a Halloween party or have your child wear a costume, involve them in the decision -making process and allow them to participate in each step of the planning and preparation so that they will know what to expect.
Celebrate Halloween with Your Autistic Child Tip #2: Pick a Costume
If your child will be wearing a costume, have him or her help decide on what they will wear. Also, if your autistic child has siblings, let your child know what his or her brothers and sisters will be wearing ahead of time as well.
Celebrate Halloween with Your Autistic Child Tip #3: Plan a Party
Include your child with autism in the planning of your Halloween party. This will help with preparing him or her for what to expect. Choose a theme based on his or her favorite character or movie and then add a Halloween slant to it.
One caveat: consider the timing. Older children may do well with a calendar and do well if you create a picture story a week or so in advance, while younger children may become upset if the Halloween party they are preparing for isn’t happening until the end of the week.
Celebrate Halloween with Your Autistic Child Tip #4: Make Diet Friendly Treats
If your child with autism is on a gluten free, casein free diet, then make sure you have plenty of treats on hand that fit his or her diet. This will make sure that your child doesn’t feel left out when everyone else has lots of candy and treats to enjoy. Ask your child’s teacher if you can bring in your GF treats to the class Halloween party and pass out similar treats to door-to-door trick or treaters.
Celebrate Halloween with Your Autistic Child Tip #5: Play Games
Halloween is extremely stimulating, so help your child relax and enjoy the holiday by providing Halloween themed games to play. If your child already has a few favorites, try modifying them for Halloween. Sometimes just playing them while wearing the Halloween costume is enough.