Halloween is full of treats and tricky situations! All the costumes and decorations, crowds and loud noises, knocking on strangers’ doors and talking to them… it’s a lot! We wanted to share a few tips to help you prepare for a Spooktacular Halloween. But remember, you know your kiddo better than anyone, so feel free to get creative with some unique solutions that you know will work for you and your family!
WITCHever solutions you come up with, preparation is key. Below is a trick-or-treating social story that you can download to help your child know what to expect. You can also create your own social story specific to your Halloween plans.
When you pick a costume for your child, choose something that fits your child’s sensory needs and find a few opportunities before Halloween to try on the costume. Wear it around the house, or even take a stroll outside!
Practice knocking on doors and ringing doorbells before Halloween. Parents can model this behavior by doing the action and then prompting the child, “your turn” or “now you try.” Practicing this before Halloween should help your kiddo feel more confident when trick or treating. You can practice knocking on doors around your house, or when visiting family or friends.
Once your child is successfully ringing doorbells and knocking on the door, practice saying trick or treat! Alternatively, “trick or treat” can also be placed on an AAC device or an icon for PECS. You can also create a sign that says “trick or treat” for your child to wear!
Consider what items you should have on hand the night of Halloween to help your child manage sensory overload. This might be a pair of headphones, earplugs, and/or a favorite toy or fidget item.
And remember, you don’t have to do this alone! Don’t be afraid to ask your community for the support that you and your child need. Part of a successful Halloween may be helping people in your community understand that your child needs certain accommodations to enjoy the holiday. Let them know if your child is non-verbal, may not be comfortable in a costume, doesn’t have the fine motor skills to pick up just one piece of candy, or whatever else may be true for your child. We know all of the needed advocacy work can be a lot, but you always have the right to ask for what your child needs!
Of course, if trick or treating is not right for your child find an alternate plan. Your kiddo may be interested in helping hand out candy from home, or you can have a costume party at home. You can make some special Halloween treats, or look for a sensory friendly activity in your community.