Trick or Treating Tips for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

It’s that time of year! The leaves are beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow. The wind is crisp and it is getting dark outside earlier each day. That means the holidays are approaching!! As the holiday season gets underway, we at LEAF want to share some tips that we’ve gathered to help make it a great occasion for every member of the family. Below are some tips to make sure that Halloween is a sweet treat for everyone.

Halloween Tips for Kids with ASD

  • Create a picture story of what Halloween is like for your child. Be sure to include some pictures or drawings. This will help your child prepare for the day’s activities and it can eliminate anxiety.
  • Do not wait until the party of trick or treating to show the costume to your child. Doing so can result in anxiety and even some meltdowns. Be sure to try on costumes before Halloween. If the costume is uncomfortable, it may cause unnecessary distress and ruin their fun.
  • Don’t make your child wear the costume if they don’t like it. Instead, talk about the situation with your child and try to discover why they don’t like it. After a talk with your child, they may get used to the costume. Have them wear it for short periods of time and at increasing intervals over time.
  • Consider a Halloween costume that fits over your child’s regular clothes, such as butterfly wings or capes; you know your child best and masks may not work.
  • Practice going to a neighbor’s door, ringing the bell or knocking on the door and receiving candy.
  • Know your child’s limits and do only what he or she can handle. For example, if your child is not comfortable trick-or-treating, you can start by going to three houses. Assess how your child is doing and build up to more houses or end it.
  • Take your child to an activity in the community, such as a school festival or a neighborhood party where the child is already comfortable and knows people. This will ensure they are comfortable and still get a chance to celebrate the occasion.
  • Partner with family and friends that your child likes. This will make it fun for you and your child.
  • If you are giving out candy at your home, give your child the option to give a piece of candy. During the day, practice greeting people and giving out candy; this can help build social skills.
  • If your child is afraid of going out at night, plan indoor or daytime Halloween activities. Never force your child to participate in activities if it will cause a meltdown or anxiety.

Print this blog post and pin it on your bulletin board at home and feel free to share these tips with parents and caregivers for kids with autism spectrum disorders.

autism pumpkin girl

If you have questions about LEAF Learning Center services & Parent Workshops, we welcome you to visit or call us at (240)245-7672, Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm.

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