Halloween can sometimes be considered to many kids, as one of the favored holidays of the year. With mounds of candy to eat, staying up late, dressing up as a character whom you admire and knocking on strangers doors, it is pretty much the one day of the year it is acceptable to do things you are told not to do every other day of the year.
Children diagnosed with ASD may not see Halloween and trick-or-treating this exciting and may find the holiday filled with anxiety and frustration. Walking up to a strangers house and socializing with unfamiliar people may cause extreme social anxiety. Children diagnosed with ASD often do not understand make-believe and have a hard time with costumes that have unfamiliar textures to them.
So how can parents make this holiday just as fun for kids diagnosed with ASD? Below are a few tips that we here at The REC feel will help reduce anxiety and make Halloween more enjoyable for everyone.
Have a dress rehearsal
Get a costume that is comfortable to your child and make sure he or she tries it on a couple times before Halloween. If your child is sensitive to certain smells or touch, you may want to stay away from makeup or tight costumes that could aggravate your child.
Provide Step by Step instructions on Trick-or-Treating
Check out this that teaches children step by step details on how to trick-or-treat.
Go Trick-or-Treating with familiar friends and siblings your child knows
Bring your child’s siblings, friends from school or cousins out trick-or-treating with you. Being around familiar people may ease anxiety for your child and make the night more enjoyable.
Eliminate the fear/surprise factor
Halloween is all about scary ghosts and goblins but again, this can cause some anxiety on your child. If you are able to, try and scope out the neighborhood you plan to go trick-or-treating in beforehand. If you are friendly with any of the houses you will plan to be stopping at, ask them if they plan to have a “scary theme” at their home. When you have a plan you are more likely to avoid a disastrous night.
Halloween and trick-or-treating doesn’t have to be a stressful for your family as long as you plan for it. If you are looking for a fun activity to bring your children too, join us on October 22nd at the Peabody REC for our Halloween Party from 11am-2pm. The event is free and open to the public and allows you to practice trick-or-treating in a safe environment with activities and games!