October 12, 2016
Halloween is just around the corner! As with any holiday, the changes in routine, environment and expectations can be challenging for everyone. Managing the excitement and potential stress surrounding these changes with some basic strategies can assist with making the holiday a success!
Halloween presents a unique set of challenges for kids. These challenges can include the subject matter (too scary), the costume (sensory), and the unusual expectation that for one day only, we encourage our children to knock on stranger’s doors, and then ask them for candy! We at Bridgeway Academy have compiled some helpful hints and activities to prepare for and manage some of the more difficult aspects of Halloween.
Practice, Practice Practice!
Taking the unexpected and making it routine can reduce the likelihood that your child will react negatively to the new expectations of the holiday.
- Have your child practice wearing their costume, or parts of their costume. This will allow for some time to ease into the feel of new, or unusual materials. If a costume is out of the question, a silly hat, or t-shirt with a favorite character can work just as well!
- Encourage family members to play “pretend” Halloween. Stand outside your own front door with your child and have them practice knocking on the front door. When a familiar family member opens the door, have the child practice saying “trick-or-treat” and then give them a piece of candy and lots of praise! If verbally saying “trick or treat” is a challenge for your child, try having them exchange a printed card with the words “trick or treat” for their Halloween candy.
- Once your child has mastered knocking on your front door, try practicing in the same way with a willing neighbor. This practice will allow your child to develop clear expectations associated with trick-or treating on Halloween.
- Use a social story to explain how Halloween is different than other days. We spend countless hours teaching our kids to never EVER take candy from strangers, and one day a year, we expect them to do just that, over, and over, and over! A social story can help to explain this difference using pictures and clear, concise language. Here is a link to help you get started http:/adayinourshoes.com/printable-halloween-social-stories-kids-with-autism/
- SO MUCH CANDY!!!! If your child has allergies or dietary restrictions (or you just don’t want the sugar), try purchasing a favorite toy ahead of time for your child to trade for their candy.
- If the mere thought of running around in the dark among large groups of children dressed up in costumes is too overwhelming, consider staying at home to pass out candy. This is a great way to introduce a child to the concept of Halloween and trick or treating, while providing them a familiar and safe place to take a break when needed.
- Lastly, remember that the most important thing about Halloween is to have FUN!
Bridgeway Academy annually hosts “Practice Trick-or-Treat” to provide opportunities for students to trick-or-treat and participate in traditional Halloween activities (e.g. Haunted Speech Room) in a fun, safe and familiar environment. The 2017 event will take place on Thursday, October 27, 2016 from 4:30 – 6:00pm. Families and friends are invited to dress-up and join us at Practice Trick or Treat. We’ll see you there!