Tips for a Child with Special Needs to have Successful Halloween
Halloween is a holiday that many children look forward to: there are fun costumes, trick-or-treating and parties with friends. But for a child with special needs, it can be a bit scary—pun intended.
Here are our three tips for making sure you and the family have a Spooktacular Halloween!
Don't let there be any surprises
Many children with autism get stressed out if there is a sudden change in schedule. Avoid this issue by preparing your kiddo for the new event that will be coming up. Social stories are a fantastic way to get them used to the idea. Here is one we created that could be quite helpful, and you can personalize it was much as you'd like.
If you have some friendly and supportive neighbors, see if you can do a test run of the trick-or-treating. Many children with autism enjoy repetition, and trick-or-treating (walking from house to house) falls in line with this. When neighbors aren't available to help, you could work on this skill by using your own front door.
You don't have to go in full costume, but practicing the art of asking for candy makes perfect!
Provide reminders the day of Halloween
If you're the type of family that follows a visual schedule, be sure to have Trick-or-Treating added to this specific day. You can also break out the social story to remind them of the event. Should your child be in therapy of some sort, see if the therapists would help you out by working on the social story, saying "Trick or Treat", etc. while they are in their sessions
Use special cards if needed
Your neighbors 4 blocks over may not be aware that your child is nonverbal; to make it easier on everyone involved, print out these handy cards that your child-or you if it's easier- can hand to the person answering the door. You could also make your own card that's a bit more personalized.
There's a chance that you do all of this preparation and thinking ahead and your child still will not be interested in Halloween or has a limited span for the trick-or-treating- don't worry! Some things that aren't fun one year, turn out to be a blast the next year. And there are tons of other ways to enjoy the holiday such as creating a fall craft together, enjoying some Halloween-themed snacks, watching a fun, Halloween movie, or reading a Halloween book.