From sensory difficulties, to understanding the social conventions of taking one piece of candy... trick or treating can be very difficult for our friends with special needs. Here are some ways to help ease the stress and make Halloween a little sweeter for everyone!
- Practice trick-or-treating at home with 2 adults. One adult can run into a room and close the door. The second adult can guide the child to knock, hold their bag out for candy, and go on their way. Repeat the process multiple times until the sequence becomes predictable for the child. Take pictures of the 'mock trick-or-treating' and of him/her eating the candy afterwards. Show these pictures leading up to (and on Halloween), to help build positive memories and remind them of the fun.
Consider the costume
- If your child has difficulty wearing a mask, consider face paint instead. If your child seeks sensory input, think about putting a fitted under-armor under the costume. Have your child wear their costume for short increments during the week leading up to Halloween.
Set the expectation
- Help your child know what to expect and how long to expect it for. If your child uses a token strip or a visual schedule at school, consider using one while trick or treating. For example, a short story to explain the sequence (knock on the door, hold out your bag for candy, go to the next house) can be helpful. Similarly, a token strip can be used to indicate how many houses are left before you are finished.
Timing is everything
- Consider the time of day/evening that you go trick or treating. Making sure that your child (and you) are not too tired, can help things run more smoothly. Also, set a reasonable limit for how long you will be out trick-or-treating.
HAVE A FUN AND SAFE HALLOWEEN!!