Most of us love Halloween, a time for spookiness, treats and fun costumes. However, many of us (and some of our children) would prefer our spooky a bit less scary. Here are some tips- tricks, if you like - that will help you enjoy the holiday without having to run for the hills!
1. Avoid crazy environments (like house Halloween parties) with flashing strobe lights and loud stressful noises. These are definitely not cool for those with sensory issues.
2. Take a pass on frightening movies with intense scary music and nightmare-inducing imagery.
3. Say “yes” to town events, such as gatherings at the library, community center, park, local stores, schools, etc. These are often held during the day and, most important, are focused more on fun than fright.
4. Pumpkin farms, yes! Apple-picking, yes! Hayrides, usually yes! Corn mazes? Maybe. Eyeball the situation first. I remember once having to dig our way out of a frustrating, never-ending maze with a couple of crying kids. Not necessarily scary, but not fun either.
5. Enjoy some quiet activities that are non-stressful, like carving a pumpkin, making spooky treats or decorating your space with your kids.
6. Face masks, body paint and certainly cumbersome costumes are often stress-provoking and a bid no-no for lots of kids. Go simple instead!
7. If trick or treating, bring a flashlight - and stay close. Halloween night can be darn right dark and dangerous. Be alert for what is out there and for potential melt-down triggers. For those with communication challenges, there is really no easy way to sign “trick or treat.” Instead, you can teach your kids to sign “give me candy.” GIVE ME = palm out, fingertips together, palm pulled toward self. CANDY = index finger twisted on cheek. This is an easy way for to get the message across. Also, please teach them: THANK YOU = hand to chin and then away. People just love a thank you from kids on Halloween!
8. Also, now trending: bring a blue bucket for collecting treats. This lets homeowners know that you have a non-verbal trick or treater with you. Not everyone recognizes this blue bucket, so again, stay close!
9. Take your kids lead. If they are opting to not go trick or treating and, rather, stay home and hand out candy with you, go along with it. Everyone can still have a good time.
10. When out with your child, if they do not want to go down a certain street or to a specific house perhaps because it is too dark or too frightening, don’t push it.
11. Monitor everything they collect and try to eat. Go light on the candy. Sugar is not our friend and definitely not our kid’s friend either. For kids with certain conditions or issues, it can send them right over the edge. Trade them a couple of dollars (or a desired object or outing) for the candy. If you want to hang onto some sweets, put them in a good hiding place, then bring the rest to work.
Enjoy! Halloween can be horrifying or loads of fun! Have fun instead!