Tomorrow is Hallowe’en. For the majority of families in Canada, children will be dressed up as a variety of characters and traipse from door to door, collecting far too much candy. For a handful of kids, however, things aren’t so simple. For kids with Sensory Disorders or those who are on the Autism Spectrum, Hallowe’en can be a pretty treacherous time. It’s not that they don’t want to participate, they just simply can’t. What seems mildly spooky to the average kid is absolutely terrifying to an ASD kid. For us, it’s the Hallowe’en music played through the PA system at school. Last year, E1 did not sleep for four nights after Hallowe’en. This year, we have opted to keep him home. He won’t be alone in staying home and our school supports our decision. The largest concentration of Romanians (outside of Romania) live in our region. For most of them, Hallowe’en does not line up with their religious convictions and they choose to opt out of it by keeping their children home.
But I don’t want E1 to feel like he’s missing out nor do I want him glued to a screen all day. So, I’ve been saving up the pack of goodies that the folks over at Kellogg’s sent me. Since I’m saving this activity for tomorrow, I will let the Rice Krispies people show you how it’s done:
Here are a few other tips to help your differently wired kid make it through Hallowe’en
- ASD kids are super sensitive to how fabric feels (but you already knew that) You may need to think up an unconventional costume or simply dress your child in every day clothes and make it into a Hallowe’en costume. Find your child’s favourite fabric (fleece, satin, cotton) and build from there. Some strategically placed toilet paper over every day clothes looks like a mummy to me.
- Go in a group. Collect up some neighbours, friends, or relatives to go out together with. If you child finds it too much to speak or is too nervous to go to a door alone, a group of friends is a great distraction. Most people won’t notice if one kid out of the bunch doesn’t say anything. Don’t, however, be the only parent in the group. Why? Because…
- Be prepared to jump ship. Go out early so you can head home early if need be. It’s Hallowe’en, not a final exam; it is not mandatory. However and to whatever extent your child can comfortably participate is just fine. If there are other parents there, you can safely leave the group and head home.
- Consider not having your child go door to door. Somebody’s got to stay home and hand out all that candy. It’s a big responsibility and your child may just be the person up for the task.
- Line up a calming movie or book to read before bedtime. This will help replace some of the scary sights your child may have seen
Those are some of our plans for Hallowe’en this year. What kind of strategies does your family use?