Halloween & Bonfire Night is an exciting time for lots of children, but it can prove challenging for children with Autism. Therefore preparation and planning can help to make it less stressful. Here are some ideas to help you and your child enjoy this time of year.
- Create a visual story of what Halloween may be like for your child, with some pictures or drawings. This will help your child prepare for the day’s activities
- Try on costumes before Halloween. If the costume is uncomfortable or doesn’t fit right, it may cause unnecessary distress and ruin their fun
- If your child doesn’t like the costume, don’t make them wear it. Maybe have a conversation around why they don’t like it and get them to put it on for short periods of time to get used to it
- Consider a Halloween costume that fits over your child’s normal clothes, such as bat wings, capes or a ghost sheet
- Practice going to a neighbour’s house that you know well and, letting your child ring their doorbell or knocking on the door.
On Halloween Day…
- Know your child’s limits and only do what they can handle. For example if your child is not comfortable trick-or-treating, you could start by going to three or four houses, asses how your child is doing and build up to more houses the following year
- Go trick-or-treating with family or friends your child likes
- Take your child to an activity in the local community or arrange a small Halloween party at home where they are around people they know and feel comfortable with
- If you are giving out sweets at home to trick-or-treaters, give your child the option to give them some sweeties. During the day practice opening the door and greeting them
- If your child is afraid of going out at night, plan some indoor or daytime Halloween activities
On Bonfire Night…
- Leading up to the night show your child pictures and videos of what a bonfire and firework display is like, so they can get in their head around what to kind of expect
- If you are planning on going to a firework display take some ear defenders with you, so your child can wear them if the loud noises get a bit much for them
- If you are staying at home, plan some distraction games so the loud bangs don’t distress your child as much.
Please feel free to share this post with other parents and carers you think it might help.
Also click here to take a look at our range of Halloween sensory resources which may help to make your child feel more comfortable throughout Halloween.