Halloween is the year's holiday when kids and adults get to engage in fun and creative activities alongside their family and friends.
It is a time for festive gatherings, spooky costumes, freaky sights, blinding lights, loud music, unfamiliar people, and jack-o-lanterns.
While Halloween may be fun for other kids, for autistic kids, the unpredictability, excitement, and Halloween activities may prove scary and daunting.
Depending on the autistic kid's spectrum, Halloween involves so much music, noise, and scares which may render the experience quite difficult.
Parents with kids with high sensory sensitivities might become frantic over how they would react and whether their kids would enjoy Halloween or not.
Nevertheless, Halloween provides a perfect opportunity for autistic kids to partake in social activities out of their parent's control.
An autistic child who is able to perform well during Halloween has a great tendency to perform well in other daunting social environments.
Adequate and careful planning would ensure that your kid enjoys Halloween regardless of how scary they might think it is.
Talking to your children before Halloween and creating a schedule of activities helps parents and autistic kids prepare for Halloween.
Let your kids actively participate when you decide on what they will wear.
Try as much as possible to limit your kid's activities around the neighborhood, amongst family and friends, or within your own house.
You could also practice how the day would go to make it less frightening for your kid.
Here are 5 Halloween tips for autistic kids:
Preparation is one of the major essential Halloween tips for autistic kids.
To adequately prepare, you have to prepare your autistic kid for the change in season, routine, and upcoming Halloween activities.
In preparing, carefully consider your child's needs.
You can slowly put them in the Halloween mood by letting them participate in making Halloween crafts and decorations and Halloween-themed foods.
Family movie night where you watch movies that have not-so-scary Halloween scenes would reduce the frightening factor of Halloween.
You can also prepare for Halloween by holding dress rehearsals.
Kids get to wear their costumes, engage in role-playing with other members of the family, and practice activities such as trick-or-treating and crossing the road.
It familiarizes them with the planned activities and sets the tone for an enjoyable Halloween.
Having a talk with your autistic kid before Halloween prepares them for what the routine on Halloween would be like for your family.
You can tell them stories about Halloween or utilize visual aids, storybooks, and videos, which show what the day would like to let them know what to expect.
For instance, you could show them videos about trick-or-treats, Halloween decorations or costumes, and pictures of family members during Halloween.
After the talk, you can let them participate in pre-Halloween activities such as costume and decorations shopping.
Talking to your autistic child about Halloween is one of the Halloween tips for autistic kids that helps them to eliminate the scary part of the day.
Your aim is to instill confidence in them that the day is not as daunting as they think it is so that they can experience a fun day like other kids.
Try as much as possible to ensure that all activities your autistic child would engage in are within familiar terrain close to home or family members.
You can familiarise your kid with the environment/route by visiting or driving through the area several times with them before the d-day.
Ensure your kid has a form of identification or plan on how they can identify you where you are at outdoor gatherings.
For instance, ensure they are familiar with your costume so they then can identify you in the midst of a crowd.
You can also prepare them for how to communicate in case of emergencies or when they get lost.
For safety reasons, you can have trusted members of your family or close friends join them in their activities to prevent the risk of wandering or eloping.
In the alternative, you may limit them to indoor activities, they can serve candy and perform tricks when other kids come trick or treating.
Indoor activities are one of the great Halloween tips for autistic kids.
You can also plan a Halloween party in your own home where you invite close friends and family.
Where your autistic kid would be going trick-or-treating in the company of their friends, you can create a list of activities that can participate in, the number of houses they can visit, activities they can partake in, the route to take, the number of treats they can have, and a time limit for all the activities.
Where your kids would be going out for activities, you can inform the host beforehand about the peculiarities of your child and special diets, if any.
Ask them to let you know the activities they would be having to incorporate into your schedule, and prepare your child for how the event would go.
In creating your schedule, ensure that it does not deviate completely from your child's daily routine so they do not experience any difficulties following it.
The schedule must be such that works perfectly for your kids.
Halloween is that time when you go all out for costumes, do make sure that you pick costumes that best suit your autistic child's needs.
The choice of comfortable costumes is one of the important Halloween tips for autistic kids. Your child's interest would be of great help here.
You could make a board of their preferences, take them shopping and let them pick out their costumes.
Where they would accessorize, accessories that may cause sensory overload should not be considered.
Noise-blocking headphones would serve as a great accessory and are essential for blocking out loud noises during outdoor activities.
Have a backup plan in terms of regular Halloween-themed clothes in case they throw a fit or become nervous about the costume on Halloween.
Keeping an open mind and setting realistic expectations for how Halloween would go for your autistic kid helps to put you and your kid at ease on Halloween day.
Preparation is one of the most important Halloween tips for autistic kids.
You can prepare by talking about Halloween, making a schedule of activities, picking comfortable Halloween costumes, and planning activities that are close to home.
With these tips, autistic kids can also experience a fun and enjoyable Halloween.
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