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Tips to Avoid Sensory Overload on Halloween

Tips to Avoid Sensory Overload on Halloween

Bigstock Group Of Kids Dressed Up For H 24830294

Lessons Learned from the Show Parenthood

Halloween can be a “scary” time of year for many parents. However, if you are a parent of a child with ASD, this can be especially difficult but doesn’t mean you have to avoid this holiday completely. We want your children to enjoy this holiday as much as the next kid!

In the second season of the TV show Parenthood there is a great Halloween episode called “Orange Alert”(Season 2, Episode 6). In the show, one of the children has Asperger syndrome and he decides he wants to go trick or treating on Halloween. His mother, of course, immediately tries to take control in order for the evening to run as smoothly as possible. This episode was great and filled with tons of tips that we wanted to pass along. They may help your child avoid sensory overload this year!

Some of the challenges of trick or treating in the show Parenthood were:

  • Candles – their son was afraid of fire
  • Scary costumes
  • Too many people

Other issues you may encounter are loud noises, darkness, and generally keeping your child safe.

First, the costume:

  • Because children with ASD are very sensitive, you might want to stay away from a big, itchy, uncomfortable costume.
  • No masks, hats, or anything that may obstruct their vision will work best. Here’s a great alternative—try a Halloween t-shirt! There are many fun shirts that could be festive and comfortable, as well as affordable!
  • Try to get your child’s costume a few weeks before Halloween. This will give them time to try it out and get comfortable wearing it—it is all about routine for them.
  • Once your child has their costume set, take a photo of them in it (without flash) this is something you can carry with you. If for some reason your child is to go missing, you already have a photo of what your child is wearing that night.

Trick or Treating:

  • It’s a great idea to go trick or treating in a group, however some children are not susceptible to large crowds. In this case, keep it small.
  • Get your neighbors on board—talk to them ahead of time, informing them of the situation this way they can be prepared. Perhaps you can show them the photo of your child in their costume so they can know what to look for.
  • Practice makes perfect—create a route that you and your child will be taking that evening, and have them practice trick or treating. This creates comfort.
  • Go early—this can help avoid any issues with darkness. If you decide they can handle the dark, try using a flashlight. This can comfort them and give them a sense of control.
  • Scope out your neighborhood and map it out. If there is a particular house that is decorated a bit too scary, you can have it mapped out to where you avoid this house on your route.
  • Another great tip that from Parenthood was glow sticks—they used glow sticks as an alternative to candles! These are great for sticking inside jack-o-lanterns or for children to hold as lights.

Halloween is supposed to be “scary” but not scary enough that you should stay home and miss out on all the festivities! We hope that these tips are helpful in making your Halloween a “not-so-scary” one.

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