Sensory-Friendly Halloween Tips For Children Diagnosed With Autism

Sensory-Friendly Halloween Tips For Children Diagnosed With Autism

Halloween is an exciting time for many children but for those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Halloween can create challenges or apprehension. Making a family plan ahead of time can relieve some stress for you and your child. To help you navigate the Halloween experience, we have compiled some tips and ideas so your child can have a fun and memorable experience.

Costumes

Picking and choosing costumes for Halloween can be an exciting time! Below are a few recommendations to help navigate this experience with your child.

  • If your child chooses to wear a costume, pick one that is comfortable! There is nothing worse than wearing clothing that is uncomfortable, especially on Halloween.
  • Show your child some photos of different costumes they may like before choosing one. This will give them the opportunity to pick one that he or she is comfortable with.
  • If your child isn’t comfortable wearing a costume, don’t worry! You can be creative by using their pajamas or favorite t-shirt and incorporating something they enjoy into the outfit.
  • Avoid things like face painting, tight fitting clothes and scratchy materials. You know your child best, so whatever they are comfortable with is the most important thing!

Spooky Sounds

Frightening music, flashing lights and loud sounds can be scary for anyone! For a child diagnosed with autism, this can be an overwhelming experience that could lead to sensory issues. If your child chooses to participate in Halloween, preparedness can go a long way!

  • Explain to your child that these spooky sounds and creatures won’t hurt them. You can let them watch kid friendly Halloween videos so they can see what to potentially expect.
  • Bring along some noise cancelling headphones, their favorite toy or even an item that is their safety blanket. Having an item on hand that your child really likes can help deescalate a situation if one occurs.
  • If your child doesn’t like loud noises or bright lights, there are always alternatives to still celebrate Halloween and have a memorable time. Trunk-or-treating, drive thru Halloween lines and kid friendly Halloween movies are still a fun and exciting way your child can celebrate the holiday.

Trick-Or-Treating

Coming home with a bag full of candy can be such an exciting moment for any child. Below are a few ways to help navigate your kid’s experience.

  • If you choose to take your child trick-or-treating this year, remember social distancing is still as important as it has been throughout the pandemic. You can refer to your state’s mandated guidelines for COVID-19 prevention.
  • Come up with a safety plan ahead of time with your family in the case that elopement may occur. Although the chance of eloping can be slim, it is always important to have a game plan ahead of time so you are prepared for any situation that could occur.
  • Your local law enforcement and first responders can be an extremely helpful tool to utilize. Feel free to reach out to them and explain what your personal situation is. You can print off a picture of your child with important information listed and give those to the first responders in your community. Include your child’s name, age, hair color, eye color, weight and description. This will put you ahead of the game in the off chance elopement does occur.
  • If your child is participating by physically going out and trick-or-treating, let your neighbors and/or community members know what the situation is ahead of time. The more people that can be on the look out, the better!

The most important things to remember are to have fun, be safe and social distance! Although Halloween might look different this year for many reasons, you can still enjoy this time with your child whichever way you feel is best!

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