Making Halloween Less Scary for Your Autistic Child

Trick or TreatHalloween is just around the corner.  While any holiday can be difficult for a child on the autism spectrum, Halloween brings some unique challenges with its costumes, masks, strange social interactions, and potential for sensory overload.

If your family celebrates Halloween, the following tips can help make Halloween less scary and more fun for your child on the spectrum:

Prepare your child through the use of Halloween social stories, and practice the “Halloween experience” by letting your child trick-or-treat at your own front door.

Know your route and consider walking it with your child a few nights before.

Check costumes for tags, scratchiness, and other texture/comfort issues that might bother your child.

If you’re trick-or-treating with siblings, line up another adult who can take over in case your autistic child needs to go home early.

Have alternate treats available to replace candy if your child has special dietary needs.  If your child will only be collecting (but not eating) trick-or-treat goodies, discuss the plan ahead of time.

Check out the Halloween Candy Buyback website to find a dentist in your area where your child can trade the candy in for other goodies. Participating dentists send the collected candy to troops overseas.

Plan for plenty of downtime before and after Halloween events to allow your child to de-stress and recharge.

What has helped your child enjoy celebrating Halloween?  If you have any tips on making Halloween less stressful and more fun for kids on the spectrum, share them in the comments!