Halloween is a time of excitement, imagination, and creativity, and it can be equally enjoyable for children with autism. At Solstice Behavioral Health & Consulting, we understand the importance of creating inclusive and sensory-friendly Halloween experiences. In this blog, we’ll explore a range of Halloween activities designed to ensure that children with autism can fully participate and have a fantastic time. Let’s make this Halloween a celebration that everyone can enjoy.
1. Costume Creation
Engage your child in the process of choosing or creating their costume. Make it a sensory-friendly experience by using soft, comfortable fabrics and avoiding restrictive masks. Encourage them to select a costume based on their interests, whether it’s a favorite character or something related to their passions.
2. Halloween Decorations
Decorating your home for Halloween can be a fun family activity. Involve your child in putting up decorations that they find intriguing. Consider sensory-friendly options like glow-in-the-dark decorations or soft, tactile materials. This can be a creative way to engage your child while preparing for the holiday. Spooky plush toys, non-toxic silly-string, and projection lights are an easy and fun way to celebrate for the evening.
3. Trick-or-Treat Practice
Before Halloween night, practice the trick-or-treating process at home. Create a familiar and structured scenario by setting up a candy bowl, ringing the doorbell, and practicing saying “trick-or-treat.” This rehearsal can reduce anxiety and help your child feel more confident during the actual event.
4. Halloween Crafts
Arts and crafts can be a wonderful way to engage children with autism. Provide Halloween-themed craft activities like pumpkin decorating, making paper ghosts, or creating sensory-friendly slime. Crafting allows children to express their creativity and practice fine motor skills. Pumpkin carving is also a favorite pastime for many families. Have your child choose a spooky face or their favorite character and draw them onto the pumpkin. With a parent’s help, carefully carve the design and add a tea light inside to have the carving stand out at night. Alternatively, skip the carving part and enjoy a colorful and decorated pumpkin with markers and other crafts.
**Bonus: Pumpkin seeds are a healthy and delicious snack on Halloween night. Take the seeds out of the pumpkin, wash away the pumpkin remnants, and bake for 20-30 minutes at 325 degrees, or until the pumpkin seeds are crisp and light golden brown. Add a light coating of butter (like popcorn butter) and sprinkle with salt or your favorite seasonings. 1 pumpkin will have enough seeds for everyone, so feel free to share them with friends and neighbors.
Share Halloween-themed stories with your child. Reading or telling stories about pumpkins, witches, or friendly ghosts can be a calming and enjoyable activity that sets the Halloween mood. A great communication game is to spot the characters of other Halloween costumes and tell their story. You’ll be surprised how much knowledge a child can have about their favorite characters or stories.
6. Calming Activities
Have a designated space where your child can take a break if they become overwhelmed. Create a space based on your child’s comforts. This may include sound-canceling headphones and sensory-friendly tools, like fidget toys or weighted blankets, to help them self-regulate and find comfort during the festivities.
7. Inclusive Celebrations
Foster a sense of inclusion and understanding by educating others about autism and its unique considerations. Encourage friends and family to be patient and supportive, making Halloween an enjoyable and inclusive experience for everyone.
Halloween is a time of wonder and delight, and children with autism can fully participate in the festivities with the right support and accommodations. At Solstice Behavioral Health & Consulting, we believe in creating inclusive and friendly environments where all children can enjoy the magic of Halloween. By engaging in these activities and fostering a supportive and understanding atmosphere, parents can ensure that their child with autism has a memorable and enjoyable Halloween celebration. For more information about autism activities or to learn how ABA Therapy can help your child, call 203-900-4720 to speak with your local Shelton and Fairfield County specialist.