Halloween can be a wonderful and exciting event, but the lack of routine and hidden faces may be among the stressors that make Halloween less fun for our loved ones on the autism spectrum. With the spooky night creeping up on us, we have compiled a few tips and tricks which you can use to help make Halloween fun for the whole family!
One of the most important aspects of the lives of most children with autism is a common schedule. Knowing when small things like brushing your teeth or getting in bed are going to happen can make life a lot easier for someone with autism. Even though it is Halloween, its good to try to stick to your normal schedule when you can. Weave your Halloween activities into that schedule, not the other way around.
The part of having a schedule that makes it so important is order and planning. People with autism tend to find solace in a plan or routine, thus making your Halloween plans in advance can be very helpful! Some important parts of the plan might be:
- Where will you go
- When will you go there
- What houses will you stop at
- Who will go with you
- When will you be home
- What will you wear
Costumes can be one of the trickiest aspects of Halloween, as an uncomfortable costume could ruin your whole night. Be sure to try to find a costume that fits like your child’s normal clothing, and be sure to have your child try on their costume a few different times before Halloween, so they can get used to how it feels
If Halloween is a bit overwhelming for your child, it might be good to find an alternative to trick-or-treating. Consider throwing a Halloween party at your house, then you and your child can work together to plan decorations, food, and guests; nothing is a surprise and you still get to enjoy your Halloween!
Weather you are going out or staying in, it is important to maintain some normalcy. Consider choosing a room of the house to keep entirely normal: no decorations, changes, spooky music, etc… That way there is always somewhere calm and normal that you and your child can go to calm down if they are overwhelmed by the other festivities.
Lastly, keeping earplugs or ear protectors on hand can always be helpful, Halloween or otherwise, in case your child is overwhelmed by unexpected sounds.
Whatever your plans are, always feel free to reach out to the Autism Society’s Autism Source Contact Center at 1-800-3-AUTISM for more information, or referrals in your area.