As we’ve all come to realize, 2020 looks different. But as parents, caregivers, educators, and therapists in the special needs community, we know that different can offer bright spots, too. For some kids with autism, Halloween is overwhelming, and the opportunity to skip it or reimagine it is a welcome change. For others, it’s an anchor point, and in this year of change, keeping Halloween traditions as intact as possible is worthwhile.
Whether you’re looking to change it up or to trick-or-treat, here are a few tips and ideas as you navigate Halloween with your child with autism during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trick-or-Treating with your Child with Autism
If Halloween is a favorite and your child can’t handle losing or changing one more element this year, we have a few suggestions to help mitigate some of the risks. Instead of trick-or-treating with a big group of friends, consider going with a smaller group—or even just as a family. We also recommend that you bring along hand sanitizer to use as needed, and of course, wash everyone’s hands as soon as you get home.
The CDC continues to recommend that everyone wear facemasks when you can’t socially distance (which includes if you’re going door-to-door to trick-or-treat). A Halloween mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. For a complete list of CDC guidelines, check out their website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween)
Reimaging Halloween with your Child with Autism
For some children with Autism, Halloween is challenging, and an opportunity to reimagine the holiday is welcome. Decking the house with not-so-scary decorations can be a fun, festive activity at all ages. For creative kids, pumpkin carving (or painting) is a perfect addition.
If your child likes to dress up, consider sticking to outdoor events and costume parties instead of crowded indoor events. If you’re passing out candy, try setting up a table a leaving treats spaced out for kids to collect, while you and your child stand back and wave.
For those who prefer to stay home but don’t want to miss out on the trick-or-treating fun, consider doing a candy hunt around the house, as you might do at Easter. If you have some extra plastic eggs, decorate them for Halloween (another fun activity!), fill them with candy, and let your child search. If you want to go out, try making a scavenger hunt list for Halloween-themed decorations, and see what you can find around your neighborhood.
Whether you choose to go out or stay in this year, we hope everyone stays safe and has fun!
If you’d like to learn more about Innovative Behavior Options and our approach to ABA therapy, check out our website (https://behavioroptions.com) or give us a call at 770-250-0093.