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Halloween is an exciting holiday for children, but it may offer certain challenges for children with autism spectrum disorders. Preparation and planning can help you stay stress-free. Whether this is your child’s first Halloween or not, here are some ideas to help you and your child enjoy the occasion:
Before Halloween Day:
- Create a visual story of what Halloween may be like for your child, with some pictures or drawings. This will help your child prepare for the day’s activities.
- Try on costumes before Halloween and present costumes that are comfortable fitting. If the costume is uncomfortable or doesn’t fit right, it may cause unnecessary distress and ruin their fun.
- Consider a Halloween costume that fits over your child’s regular clothes, such as butterfly wings or capes, which can make the costume more comfortable.
- Practice going to a neighbor’s door, ringing the bell or knocking on the door and receiving candy.
- Know your child’s limits and do only what he or she can handle. For example, if your child is not comfortable trick-or-treating, you can start by going to three houses. Assess how your child is doing and build up to more houses the following year.
- Take your child to an activity in the community, such as a school festival or a neighborhood party where the child is already comfortable and knows people.
- Partner with family and friends that your child likes.
- If you are giving out candy at your home, give your child the option to give a piece of candy. During the day, practice greeting people and giving out candy.
- If your child is afraid of going out at night, plan indoor or daytime Halloween activities.