Halloween can be a fun experience, but it’s not for everyone.
Halloween is different for every family. Some go trick or treating, some go to family parties and some don’t celebrate it at all. Everyone is different and it is important to remember that.
My brother, Dian, struggles to understand the concept of Halloween. He likes dressing up as his favourite superhero and eating all his favourite sweets but trick or treating is confusing for him. Going up to someone’s house, getting some sweets and leaving again isn’t the norm so you can understand where he’s coming from. Visiting people involves going into their home so why is Halloween night different? This kind of thinking makes sense so if trick or treating ends in a meltdown, it’s completely understandable.
People with autism tend to like routines so when Halloween comes around and there’s a change in the way things are done, it can be very stressful for them. It’s important to not force Halloween onto anyone, it can do more harm than good. Don’t make a big deal if your child isn’t interested in taking part either, that could cause a lot of upset and isolation. Adapt your child to Halloween, not the other way around.
Dian loves watching a movie wrapped in blankets with a bowl of popcorn on a Saturday night (sounds really good right?). So for Halloween, we’re planning on turning Halloween night into a movie night. Spooky treats, a Halloween family movie and he can wear his costume if he likes. We want him to have an enjoyable Halloween not a stereotypical one.
If your child, brother or sister, cousin or friend, doesn’t enjoy Halloween the same as other kids, that’s perfectly okay. No two people are the same and this is a great example of that. Remember to adapt Halloween to their needs and they will have a brilliant holiday just like everyone else.
To read more of Freya’s work, please visit: all-aboutautism.blogspot.com