Preparing Your Autistic Child for Halloween

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Ah the excitement of Halloween night is upon us! For some parents, the giddy excitement sets in as they design/create their child’s costume and prepare for the night out full of candy that they get to munch on the next morning.

As for some other parents, Halloween night is a bit more overwhelming as they prepare for their autistic child’s costume debut and the scary anticipation of how their child will act in the trick-or-treat environment.

With Halloween coming up this Thursday, we at Reinforcement Unlimited want to make sure that you, your child and the rest of your family are prepared to have the easiest, most fun and most comfortable Halloween night yet!

What Costume Should My Autistic Child Wear?

Kids who are on the spectrum have many stimulates that hinder them from feeling comfortable and at ease. It is important to remember the sensory issues that they have such as touch and feel of the costume; whether something is too tight, too itchy, too hot, or just all together extremely uncomfortable.

But don’t all costumes possess at least one of those qualities, making it impossible to find the right one for my child? And of course, my child wants the costume that consists of all of those things.”

Sure, there are many costumes that have each of those qualities and your child might want the batman costume, but you know what the end result is going to be on Halloween night when they have a tantrum because of their costume. So what do you do?

You can easily create a costume out of what they already wear as regular clothes and change them into their favorite characters in a book, movie or TV show:

  • Change a plain white tee into their favorite superhero symbol
  • Check out local stores such as Walmart who sells shirts with many types of characters available to choose from
  • Add some accessories to an outfit; this could be a hat, bow-tie, necklaces, etc.
  • Maybe dress them in some of their PJ’s; what better of a way for them to be as comfortable as possible than in their own comfortable pajamas?

What Should I Expect on Halloween Night?

It is vital to make sure that you and your child are overly prepared for trick-or-treating. There are many precautions to take when you are prepping your child for the adventurous night to come.

  • Create a run-through – Prep your child by setting yours or your neighbor’s house up as a decoy to practice on. Practice makes perfect and the more they practice, the better they will be.
  • Talk to them – As you’re doing a walk-through, explain how the night works and what they will expect when going door-to-door. Explain that they cannot have an entire hand-full of candy at every person’s house. Explain that some door’s that they knock on might not do the whole “trick-or-treating” and that’s okay.
  • Have them try on their costume ahead of time – Make sure that you give yourself enough time to prepare their Halloween outfits for them to try on to wear for the run-through and let them see how it feels. This will give you enough time to go back and adjust the costume according to how it will make them feel comfortable.
  • Get a blue bucket – If you haven’t heard or maybe don’t know much about it, the blue bucket represents all kids with autism as they trick-or-treat to inform homeowners of their condition so they are aware when the child approaches them to receive candy.
  • Prepare the candy – Some autistic kids might have strict diets that particularly pertains to not having a lot of sugar. But it’s Halloween, literally the one day out of the year that all children and parents can inhale any and all candy because…well, it’s CANDY. Have no fear, there are ways around your child getting too much sugary candy.
  1. Have a side stash of healthier/less sugary candy, or some other alternative, available to swap out your child’s candy from what they received from all of the houses.
  2. If you know the neighborhood that you are going to be trick-or-treating in, brief the neighbors. You could bring your alternative candy solution to them prior to trick-or-treating so that they’re prepared to give your child those delicious goods instead of the sugary ones that your child can’t have.

We hope that you found some of this information beneficial to you as you embark on this Halloween night a little bit more eager to go than dreading it.