7 Tips for Halloween for Children With Autism and Sensory Issues

Therapies and Resources for Children with Autism & Families

Halloween should be a fun time, but for children with sensory issues or autism, this isn’t always true. Decorations and fabrics on costumes can create uncomfortably sensations and approaching unfamiliar homes can be stressful. That’s why we’ve provided our tips for making a fun Halloween for children with autism and sensory issues:

• Make your own costume.
For children with sensory problems, costumes can be incredibly uncomfortable. Costumes can be made out of fabrics that your child doesn’t typically wear and that might not feel good on his or her body. Since you know your child and know what kind of materials are comfortable, consider making a homemade costume that’s comfortable for your child.

• Practice in costume.
No matter if you buy a costume or make a costume, you will want to have your child test the costume ahead of time. Do not wait until the night of Halloween to try anything out. That can be cause for the rest of the night being ruined due to an uncomfortable costume. Make sure that your child is comfortable and happy in the costume for the best chance at Halloween success.

• Create a social story.
Social stories are a great way to show your child what will be happening during Halloween and trick or treating. By combining pictures and text that showcase how the night will run, your child will become more familiar with what will happen and will be better equipped to handle the night.

• Pass out treats ahead of time.
If your child has sensory issues with certain types of food, the candy that many people will be handing out may not be something he or she can eat. If you would still like your child to participate in trick or treating and get treats, consider passing out treats that your kiddo can enjoy to homes where you’ll be trick or treating ahead of time and leave a note with it explaining why you chose to do this (if you wish to, of course), who you and your child are, and some detail that can let them know who you are when you come to the door. This is also a great way to spread awareness and potentially meet others who have children with sensory issues.

• Practice the route ahead of time.
As you know, children with autism find comfort in routine. Walking a route they don’t know while surrounded by the chaos of all that goes on on Halloween may be disastrous for your child. So, consider spending some time walking the route you will take beforehand so it becomes familiar to your child.

• Practice social skills.
If your child has never gone out for Halloween before, the experience of going up to someone’s door and asking for candy may feel strange and uncomfortable. So, see if you have a couple of neighbors who are willing to do a test run with your child so that he or she can feel more comfortable when the big night comes. If he or she has the chance to practice ringing the doorbell and then speaking with the person who comes to the door, your child can gain experience with what will be expected on Halloween.

• Make a trade.
If pounds and pounds of candy are not suitable for your child, consider making a trade with them. Offer to allow them to choose a toy at the store or pick out their favorite treat for their bag of candy in return. Or, consider offering a small amount of money, maybe a nickel or dime, for every piece of candy they have collected and then take them to their favorite store to pick out a toy with the money they have earned for trading in their candy. Then, they won’t be eating their candy, but they will still get something fun in return.

Are you ready to make this Halloween the best one yet for your child with autism or sensory issues? Try out some of our tips above! They just might make the difference between Halloween fun and Halloween horror!

Looking for more tips and resources for children with autism or sensory issues? Check out some of our other blog posts – we love sharing ideas that may help you and your child!

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