Helpful Hints for Halloween

Halloween is almost here! Are you ready?

  • Have your child try on his costume ahead of time. Layering tight fitting clothing, such as Under Armor, may help decrease the discomfort of novel fabrics. Be willing to adjust your expectations of what constitutes a costume. A simple pair of black sweatpants and a favorite Batman shirt could be a Batman costume.
  • Face paint and masks can be difficult for children with tactile sensitivities. If your child wants to have a mask but cannot wear it, attach a dowel to the side so she can hold the mask up when she wants to.
  • Canvas your neighborhood before Halloween. Avoid houses with motion-sensor decorations or warn your child ahead of time if he has auditory sensitivities.
  • Role-play the social interactions required during trick-or-treating. There are many “hidden curriculum” items involved with Halloween, such as:

– skipping houses that do not have lights on

– taking one piece of candy instead of a handful

– waiting in line behind other children who arrived first

– some adults wear costumes while others do not

– other children may wear the same costume as you

– some people wear scary costumes while others do not

– if it is cold outside, you may have to wear a jacket over your costume

– if you do not like any of the candy that a person is offering to you, you can say “No, thank you” or politely take a piece to share with someone else in your family

  • Children who are sensitive to smells and tactile input may be able to participate in pumpkin decorating by painting, drawing or placing stickers on their pumpkin instead of carving.
  • Know your child’s limits. Some children can only tolerate trick-or-treating at a few homes. Watch for signs your child is becoming overwhelmed or over stimulated and take a break.
  • Have a plan and discuss it with your child ahead of time. When will you go trick-or-treating? How much candy will your child be allowed to eat that night?
  • Use sensory breaks. Bring along a drink in a sports bottle or let your child chew gum for organizing oral motor input. Have your child pull a wagon or do a quick set of wall push-ups against the car or an understanding neighbor’s house.
  • As with any holiday, try to keep a reliable schedule at home during the week of Halloween.
  • Most importantly, have fun! Halloween is not about making it to every house in the neighborhood; it is about the quality time your child can enjoy participating in the festivities in a way that works for them.
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