Updated: Nov 3
Sensory Halloween overload is a real thing, and can pose unique challenges for kids with autism, given the sensory overload, social interactions, and unfamiliar routines that come with it. However, there are several strategies to help make Halloween a more enjoyable and inclusive experience.
Sensory Halloween Tips and Tricks
Sensory Halloween Costume Choice
Involve your child in selecting a sensory-friendly costume. Opt for soft materials, loose-fitting clothing, and minimal accessories. Costume pajamas can be an excellent option. Avoid costumes with scratchy materials or uncomfortable masks.
If you plan to go trick-or-treating, practice the experience with your child. Let them knock on your door or arrange a practice run with a neighbor. Practice what to say and provide a script if needed. This will help your child become more comfortable with the process.
Stick to Familiar Places
Reduce anxiety by sticking to familiar houses during trick-or-treating.
Noise-Canceling Headphones - Non-Overwhelming Sensory Halloween
If your child is sensitive to loud noises, consider using noise-canceling headphones to block out the noise from Halloween festivities.
Trick-or-Treat in Small Groups
Go trick-or-treating in small groups with understanding friends or family members who can accommodate your child's needs.
Explore Alternative Activities
Consider hosting a sensory-friendly Halloween party at home, watching Halloween-themed movies, or engaging in Halloween-themed crafts.
Teach your child non-verbal communication techniques, such as using a visual card or sign to indicate when they need a break or are feeling overwhelmed.
Ensure your child's costume is visible in the dark by adding reflective tape or glow-in-the-dark accessories. Carry a flashlight for added visibility and safety.
Sensory Halloween Candy Alternatives
If your child has dietary restrictions or sensory sensitivities, consider handing out non-food items like small toys or stickers to neighbours to give your child a sensory halloween experience. Alternatively, inform your neighbours in advance about your child's special needs and arrange for them to provide candy alternatives.
Create or find social stories about Halloween to help your child better understand the day/night.
Have an Exit Plan
Create a plan with your child before going out, outlining what to do if they feel overstimulated or overwhelmed. Approach houses with Halloween decorations, as they are typically welcoming to trick-or-treaters and will answer the door.
Remember, every child is unique, so it's crucial to tailor your approach to your child's specific needs and preferences. Prioritise your child's comfort and well-being while finding creative and enjoyable ways to celebrate Sensory Halloween together.