As Halloween rapidly approaches, many parents are looking for fun and fa-boo-lous ways to celebrate the scariest holiday of the year with their kiddos. Here are some Halloween activities for autistic child that they will definitely enjoy.
However, Halloween can become a bit challenging when you have an autistic child. So many kids on the street can make them feel overwhelmed, not all of the costumes are sensory-friendly, the variety of treats can be too much, and the list goes on and on.
But never fear, with a bit of creativity, you can help them enjoy some spooky fun this fall.
Halloween and autism: Before and During Halloween Tips
As you know, Halloween is a tricky holiday for autistic kids. The loud noises, strange costumes, and overwhelming crowds can be overwhelming and cause sensory overload.
Here are a few tips to help make Halloween a success for autistic kids:
5 Tips Before Halloween:
Familiarize your child with the concept of Halloween
Show them pictures or videos of people in costumes, explain what trick-or-treating is, and let them see and touch some of the props and decorations you'll be using.
Use stories, books, or even videos to help your child understand what Halloween is all about. This will help them know what to expect during the big day.
Plan in advance
Start by creating a visual schedule of all the activities that will take place on Halloween night. This will help your child feel more comfortable and less overwhelmed by the day's events.
If you’re going trick-or-treating, create a plan before heading out into the neighborhood. Map out a route that avoids any busy streets or neighborhoods with too many houses close together.
Don’t forget about including them in the planning! Ask them what they want to do and make the schedule together. If your kiddo doesn’t want to go trick-or-treating, plan a movie night, cook a spooky recipe, or tell scary stories, the possibilities are endless.
Create a safe space for your child
If your child feels overwhelmed by the crowds and noise on Halloween night, have a quiet space ready at home where they can take a break from the festivities.
This might include having some favorite toys or snacks on hand or playing calming music in the background.
You can also decide to go celebrating in quiet neighborhoods to avoid all the noise and the crowds of kids.
Find sensory friendly Halloween costumes
The costumes for autistic child is designed to be soft, comfortable, and easy to wear. It often has built-in noise-canceling headphones or detachable hoods to help block out excess stimulation.
Sensory friendly Halloween costumes will help them avoid the stress of scratchy, noisy, overwhelming costumes that can affect autistic kids. Basically, they are designed to minimize stimuli and maximize fun.
Note: if your child doesn’t want to wear a costume, don’t make them! Let them have fun with whatever they like. The important thing is that they enjoy the day!
By practicing trick-or-treating in advance or visiting the houses of friends and family members, autistic children can learn what to expect on Halloween and feel more comfortable about the holiday.
You can walk through the route you chose for trick-and-treating, talk to your neighbors, ring their doors, practice asking for candy, etc. This will help to ease your kiddo’s anxiety.
5 Tips During Halloween
Bring along noise-canceling headphones
Many autistic children are sensitive to loud noises, so headphones can help to filter out some of the excess noise during the holiday.
Some sensory friendly Halloween costumes include noise-canceling headphones, but some don’t. So, make sure to grab them before you go on your spooky adventure.
Partner with people your child likes
If you want to go trick-or-treating with a group, make sure you go with people your kiddo feels comfortable with, that way they’ll enjoy the activities and socialize with other people!
Know their limits
As any parent of an autistic child knows, our kids can be pretty Sensitive when it comes to new experiences. So when Halloween rolls around, it's important to know their limits in order to make the holiday enjoyable for everyone.
For instance, some autistic kids may not be able to handle the noise and commotion of a crowded haunted house. Others may be scared by unfamiliar costumes or decorations. And some may simply need a little more time to adjust to the idea of trick-or-treating.
By being aware of our kids' limitations, we can ensure that they have a fun and safe Halloween experience. So, if they don’t like what they’re doing, don’t get frustrated and enjoy the festivities in a different way!
Take breaks as needed
If your child starts to get overwhelmed, take a break in a quiet place until they're ready to continue.
Don’t make them keep going if they feel exhausted. Just sit down and relax for a few minutes, the fun will still be there once they’re ready.
Bring snacks and non-food treats
Pack snacks and drinks for your child to enjoy during the festivities. And don't forget to bring along any medications or calming tools they might need.
On the other hand, don’t forget about grabbing some non-food treats for autistic kids who may have dietary restrictions. Stickers, pencils, and small toys are all great options.
7 Halloween activities for special needs
Halloween is a time for ghouls, ghosts, and goblins! During the scariest night of the year, everyone deserves to have some spooky fun and autistic kids shouldn’t be an exception.
If you’re eager to celebrate the holiday with your little one, here is our top list of 7 Halloween Activities for Autistic Child
Sensory friendly trick or treating
For some kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the traditional trick-or-treating experience can be overwhelming. That's why many communities now offer sensory-friendly trick-or-treating events. These events are designed to be more welcoming for kids with ASD, and they often feature smaller crowds, quieter settings, and less stimulating decorations.
As a result, kids with SPD can enjoy the holiday without feeling overwhelmed. And that's a pumpkin-spice latte worth celebrating!
If your community doesn’t host this kind of event, go ahead and do it yourself! We’re sure many parents will thank you for it.
From ghosts made out of cotton balls to pumpkin paintings, there are countless craft projects that are perfect for Halloween.
Crafting is a great way for autistic kids to express their creativity. Whether you're making puppets, masks, or decorations, your child will have fun and feel proud of their finished product.
Visit a pumpkin patch
Pumpkin picking is a great activity for autistic kids because it's both calm and stimulating. There are lots of different pumpkins to look at, and your child can take their time picking out the perfect one.
Plus, it’s a great way to have a nice, chilly day outside! Just make sure the pumpkin patch is not too crowded or even better, you can create your own pumpkin patch in your backyard!
Do a scary movies night
Watching Halloween movies is a great way to bond with your child and get into the holiday spirit. Choose kid-friendly movies that are not too scary, such as “Casper”, “Scooby-Doo”, or “Hotel Transylvania”.
This is an amazing activity for when your kiddos want a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday. Pop some popcorn, turn off the lights, and settle in for some spooky fun.
Let them design their own costume
Dressing up is one of the best parts of Halloween, but finding the right costume can be a challenge. If your child is autistic, consider letting them make their own costume if you don’t like to buy a sensory-friendly one. This will give them the opportunity to express their individuality and have fun at the same time.
In the same way, this can be a great way to avoid the sensory overload that can come from wearing a commercial Halloween costume.
Plan a sensory-friendly Halloween party
Keep the decorations simple and low-key, offer a variety of foods and drinks, and provide calm activities like coloring or listening to spooky stories.
You can invite friends and family that your kiddo likes and have some fun together at home!
Bake Halloween-themed treats
Get in the kitchen and bake some spooky treats together. Cupcakes decorated with spider webs or cookies shaped like ghosts are sure to be a hit.
This is also a great opportunity to teach them new abilities and recipes they will treasure for the rest of their lives.
Halloween and autism: Final thoughts
For many kids, Halloween is the best holiday of the year. It's a chance to dress up in a costume, go trick-or-treating, and eat lots of candy. But for kids with autism, Halloween can be a difficult time. Thanks to the loud noises, unexpected surprises, and large crowds, Halloween can be sensory overload for autistic children.
However, that doesn't mean that autistic kids can't enjoy Halloween. With a little planning and creativity, families can make Halloween fun for everyone, and now you have all the tips, tricks, and activities to make this holiday an unforgettable one.
So, go ahead, plan, and enjoy the spookiest holiday of the year with your kiddo and family, and let us know what was their favorite activity in the comments below!