Tips for an autism-friendly Halloween

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If you have kids that have Autism and Sensory Sensitivities, Halloween can be a little challenging. Stephanie Ward with Hopebridge says Halloween can be overwhelming for kids with autism, as sensory overload can come from flashing lights, scary sounds and itchy costumes.

There are some easy ways to get them involved.

Halloween tips for kids with autism

Consider having non-candy alternatives available, such as small toys for those who may be on a restricted diet or have feeding challenges. Look out for blue candy buckets and signs that are sometimes used by individuals with autism, which let you know they may need more support.

If you have neighbors, family members or friends on the spectrum, ask their caregivers how you can help prepare to make it more fun for them.

Tips for caregivers and family: For those developmentally able to understand, teach them about Halloween through social stories, YouTube videos, visual schedules and more.

If it makes sense for your child, bring a sign or treat bag that explains your kiddo has autism and that he or she may not say “trick or treat” but they are still having fun and appreciate the treats! The Autism Speaks website has downloadable signs. Plan and practice: start small and hold practice runs in or around your home with siblings, grandparents, neighbors and/or friends.

For costume ideas, there are several stores that have adaptive costumes. Know that haunted houses and trick-or-treating isn’t for everyone (yet, anyway!). Consider an at-home “party” with movies and treats, a Halloween egg hunt, or hand out candy to other kids.

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