Halloween is a fun-filled and exciting time for most children, but it can also be a bit scary for children with special needs. Here are some suggestions to help your child – and you – have a stress-free Halloween.
- Talk to your child in advance about what to expect. Let him/her know that there may be unusual sights and sounds.
- Help your child choose a costume that reflects his/her interests, and practice wearing it ahead of time. Be sure it is comfortable and easy to put on and take off.
- Review expected behaviors with your child. Practice good ways of asking for treats and saying thank you. If your child is non-verbal, you could program your child’s communication device to say “Trick or Treat,” or you can design a picture symbol to use when going door to door.
- Set a time limit. Don’t let the trick-or-treating go on too long. If your child is uncomfortable being out after dark, you can go out at 5 p.m. or even earlier.
- Use a buddy system. Small children should be accompanied by a parent or other adult, but older children could be accompanied by an older sibling.
- Be sure your child does not consume any of the treats until you have a chance to check them. This is true not only if your child has food allergies or sensitivities, but also because you want to be sure the packaging has not been tampered with.
Happy Halloween from The Arc of Massachusetts!