BOO! Did we scare you?! Halloween is one of the most exciting times for children of all ages. Candy, costumes, and excitement allow your child to explore their dreams and interact with people of all types! While Halloween is a holiday filled with fun, it can also lead to some unique challenges for parents of children with autism. Here are some simple precautions for parents, to help ensure an exciting and safe Halloween!
- Alternative trick-or-treating: Many churches and organizations offer alternative trick or treating in a more family-friendly environment. More often than not, these events take place before dark, so everyone can be involved. Unlike traditional trick-or-treating, events like these have very little sensory overload like flashing lights or loud noises. This is perfect for kids with autism. Some include trunk-or-treats where those involved bring various treats and place them in the trunk of their cars for the kiddos to walk around and have some fun! Many times there will be fun games for the family or even a pumpkin patch!
- Buddy system: Safety in numbers is always a great policy, and is imperative for Halloween. By going in groups, you are providing safety as well as opportunities to socially interact with kids from their school or neighborhood!
- Candy checks: Checking your child’s candy bags is an important step to ensure their safety. It protects them from all kinds of dangers including allergies, already opened candy, and any other concerns. This is a very simple task that can be forgotten amidst the Halloween craziness, but make sure your child understands the importance of not eating the candy before you check it.
- Emergency plans: Preparing emergency plans before Halloween is a great way to prepare your family for the holiday. Some simple ideas include reviewing phone numbers, practicing your route beforehand, and establish scheduled meet-up times throughout the night to check-in on each other to make sure everyone is having the most fun in the safest way!
- Stay in areas familiar to your child: Halloween is filled with extra stimuli, decorations, and people. As a result it is easier for your child to become distracted or overwhelmed. Staying in familiar areas allows you to gain control over the situation by feeling more confident and close to home where you can appropriately remove your child if they begin to experience sensory overload.