Halloween scares many children. The themes attract their fear as there are terrifying decorations, costumes, scary movies, and not to mention an increase in the price of sweets.
The most complicated of all is to create the conditions so that this day does not affect our son/daughter with autism, and he/she can understand it in the best way. In this sense, what can we do to make this day not so chilling for them?
Remove the surprise factor
Take the time to talk with your child before Halloween. Explain to him/her in advance to prepare them for the subject. You can display images and videos with kids in disguise and with the usual “trick or treat” sign. Describe the environment and atmosphere you will find on the streets at night.
You can even show photos of previous celebrations and create a social story so that your child does not feel scared, and perceives the celebration as a repetitive event. This builds confidence and greater security.
Check out the neighborhood
Start a night walk through the neighborhood to see the decorations of the houses. Some may be more frightening than others. As a result, you may prefer to prevent your kid from visiting the most terrifying.
It is convenient to talk with the neighbors beforehand to find out what they plan to do, for example, if they plan to receive children with a costume when they get home. These scenes can cause fear in children with autism. For this reason, it is recommended to go to houses, parties, and even Halloween stores before taking your little one.
Teach trick or treat rules
Provide clear and precise instructions to your child about “trick or treat” rules. For example, don’t enter the house, say thanks and visit the next home, etc. Practice with him/her what that experience would be like and the steps you should follow, even when facing an unforeseen event such as if the neighbour is not at home.
One of the things we teach our infants is that they never accept sweets from strangers, so it is difficult to contradict this rule. It is better to explain that it is a party and that it is valid to do it this way, except you are going to shopping centers or stores.
Do a general rehearsal
Kids with sensory difficulties may experience discomfort with the clothing of Halloween. Many may suffer itching if the costume is too tight. The texture of the fabric is also likely to cause discomfort.
For children within the spectrum, makeup on the face may seem sticky. It can even make them feel weird. Besides, masks and accessories can make vision and hearing difficult, which can lead to the child feeling frustrated and forced to participate in Halloween activities.
Encourage your son/daughter to do a simulation of everything put on the costume, ask how they feel with it, and make the appropriate adjustments to make the event fun for the child.
You can also create a costume with everyday clothes. Choose a character that your child loves, but also clarify that it is not mandatory to wear a costume.
Make a candy plan
Be careful with your child’s diet. Remember that on Halloween, kids can exceed the consumption of sweets. In case of a restricted diet, deliver a bag of goodies acceptable to your neighbor beforehand so they can give it to your child.
It is also possible to exchange sweets with his/her sibling. Tell your son/daughter what he/she can and should do with sweets when he/she gets home. Set consumption limits before the party.
Promote the company of friends
Ask one of your little one’s neurotypical friends to accompany you and monitor compliance with the rules of trick or treating.
In turn, that friend can help your child with any eventuality. If you have other children, plan a solution in case your kid with ASD wants to retire before the other children have completed their activities.
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