All the fun trick or treating that comes with Halloween is something most families look forward to. For those living with a special needs child, this holiday can be a nightmare worse than any authentic ghoul or goblin.
The unpredictability of Halloween along with its sights, sounds, and smells can be 100 times scarier for a child on the autism spectrum or with other special needs. Here are some tips to make the night fun for everyone, but most importantly for our children.
What does this holiday mean?
For some of our children, holidays can be confusing and unpredictable. To help explain that process better, watch fun movies with safe Halloween themes to get ready for the upcoming night. These movies have specific scenes with trick or treating, offering less scary and much more family-friendly themes:
Start with visiting one house before the holiday. Reinforce the victory by celebrating with a special treat or small toy. You can also practice trick or treating in your garage. Have your child hand out candy to kids who are pretending to come to “trick or treat”.
Get in the spirit with the right costume!
Choose a favorite cartoon or game character:
All children should be included in Halloween celebrations. Here is how our non verbal/preverbal kids can experience the fun too:
This is a great way to include all kids in “trick or treat” activities. Use all the tips outlined in this article, and print and make copies of this card. Practice how to pass it out with your child on the night of Halloween.
What to eat?
Most teachers dread the day after Halloween for the “sugar coma” kids experience and the large negative changes in behaviors. We have plenty of ideas to address this scary concept of too much sugar! Alternative treats for special needs children include:
Don’t let this be the scariest holiday of all! With the festivities rapidly approaching, these ideas will surely help your child with special needs experience the joys of Halloween!
Article by By Lisa Ackerman at tacanow.org
Staff of the Northwest Arkansas Community Parent Resource Center (including original content as well as curated links to various authors around the web.)