Lovely Little Things
Blue Bucket for Autism.Tips to Avoid The Halloween Meltdown.
Updated: Feb 27, 2021
Halloween is right a round the corner. So autism moms it's time to prepare . For a child with autism this is either a time of year they have been waiting for since last Halloween or its going to be an evening of meltdowns. I'm not sure if there is an in between on this. So here are some ideas to make it an event with possible no meltdowns.
Plan a Costume that isn't going to ruin the whole night.
This is big for us because Shay has extreme sensory issues with her spd. She isn't going to wear an odd fitting store bought costume. Like we don't even try . We also know she isn't going to go for anything on her head . No masks ,hats or headbands. So basically we come up with something that is normal attire for her but is a character from something. Last year she was Boo from monsters inc. This year we are doing Fern from Charlotte's Web. I actually start looking for ideas on pinterest months in advance.
Another great option is just grab a Halloween pj set for smaller children. Bunches of option are available at Walmart and they do cool things like glow in the dark.
If you go the costume route definitely do a costume party store . They are going to let you try it on. So you can pretest it for issues. Older children can help pick something . Asd children most generally have a strong interest in something so that can contribute to a costume idea.
Ding Dong Options
The dreaded event of the night is going to be how are they going to do with walking a neighborhood going door to door . It's a lot of constant transition . Some neighborhoods can be prime areas and over crowded. It can be hugely overwhelming. Malls are going to be crowded and similar to standing inline. So here are some great ideas to keep the door to door tradition or to find a less noticed public event.
Senior Assisted Living or Nursing home.
Seniors love children. Some nursing homes do a trick or treat . If your not sure of any contact some in your area . They may let you come by for a visit .
If you can access a gated community or live in one. Some even disable the gates for a few hours on Halloween. They don't become over crowded because people aren't aware they could access them.
Beat the Crowd
Use your own home area or a family members that your child is already familiar with . Just venture out earlier before everyone else.
Seek a Sensory Event/Closed Church Event
Autism is hugely recognized now. So you may be able to find a place that hosts an event just for asd kiddo's and family. I've seen lots of churches starting this. Not all church events are advertised to public so you may be able to find one that is doing something smaller.
At Home Party
This is usually what we do.
Plan a small Halloween party . Invite a few children over that have similar diagnosis. My best friend has asd twins . So we usually get together and make up a few games and have stuff we know our kids will eat. This is a great options to ditch the spooky side of Halloween also. You can do a fall carnival theme.
Plan The Day to Be Ready For The Evening.
Knowing the day Halloween falls on is going to be a huge contributor to how the evening goes. Unfortunately we have 5 out of 7 chances it's going to be on a school day. In an ideal world we could keep the day very low on sensory input to not cause a sensory meltdown. So if we got lucky and it's on a weekend you can prep your whole day to avoid a sensory overload. With the odds you are going to get a few hours to prepare. Do some calming activities before you venture out is highly suggested. Fortunately for me Shay doesn't go to school on Thursdays. (Halloween this year). So I will get to control her day. She also naps in the afternoon being a toddler.
So some things I'll be avoiding that day to just be safe.
To much screen time
anything that could lead up to over stimulation. So I'll be putting her toy boxes up and giving her just a few items of her choice to play with during the day. We will be doing a later nap just so she will be rested. I will be giving her a bath before dressing her. Bathes are very calming for her we have used that in an event of meltdowns to calm her down. I know that's not the case with all asd kids. My son hated them when he was little. Do what works best for your situation.
Plan a Calming Area
The thing with sensory meltdown is it builds up from the amount of input. So when your out and about watch for signs of your child getting to that level. If you have chosen a home or public setting decide on a calming area ahead of time. Have some calming bottles or a distraction to intervene the meltdown . If your in a church setting seek out the brides room . Most churches have one . Any area that can give them a few minutes to let their brain catch up with the input it's receiving. Avoid them snacking on to much of the candy or other sugary items just so you don't have upset tummy issues. If your venturing door to door bring along a lightweight blanket you can tent around you and your child to give them a calm down moment. You can throw some glow sticks in a bottle to light up your tented area.
So that rounds up my ideas to avoid a Halloween meltdown. I would love to hear some of your ideas in the comments below.