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26 September 2019

Tips for children with Autism on Halloween & Bonfire Night

by Alexandra Hooson

Halloween & Bonfire Night are an exciting time for lots of children, but they can prove challenging for children with Autism. Planning and making special preparations before these spooky events can help things seem a lot less stressful, helping you enjoy your night to the fullest.

Here are some of our top sensory ideas to help you and your child enjoy this time of year.

Before Halloween…

  • Create a visual story, colourfully explaining what Halloween looks like and what it’ll entail for your child. Make sure you include pictures and drawings to bring the story to life, to help your child prepare for the day’s activities.
  • Try your costume on 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 their costume, don’t make them wear it. You could have a conversation around why they don’t like it and potentially make alterations to make it more wearable.
  • Consider a Halloween costume that fits over your child’s normal clothes, such as bat wings, capes or a ghost sheet – it’s simple and still spectacularly spooky.
  • Practice going to a neighbour’s house (one that you know well) and let your child ring their doorbell or knock on their 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 only visit a few houses.
  • Go trick-or-treating with family or friends that your child likes; this should help them feel more comfortable and safe.
  • 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 hand out the treats.
  • If your child is afraid of going out at night, plan some indoor or daytime Halloween activities so that they don’t miss out on any spooky fun!

On Bonfire Night…

  • Leading up to the night, show your child pictures and videos of what a bonfire and firework display looks like, so they can get their head around what to 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.
  • And if you are staying at home, plan some distraction games, so the loud bangs don’t distress your child too much.

Please feel free to share this post with other parents and carers you think it might help.

Don’t forget to take a look at our range of Halloween sensory resources so that you can create a safe and spooky sensory environment for your child to celebrate Halloween.

Happy Halloween!