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Trick or treating can be a daunting prospect for children with autism, here are a few tips for a happy Halloween.

For some children with autism, Halloween can be stressful and demanding.

Both my sons Patrick and Angelo have always loved Halloween. Every year we design a pumpkin face and buy sweets to give the trick or treaters. Patrick enjoyed dressing up when he was younger. One particular year I made him a dinosaur costume out of cardboard and crepe paper. He thought it was wonderful and wore it in the evening for a whole week!

At our schools for children with autism, the children celebrate Halloween by baking cakes and making masks and lanterns. We also talk about the day to explain what will happen, depending on the level of understanding of the children at the schools.

Here are a few tips on preparing your child for Halloween:


Plan, plan, plan!
Choose a time to leave the house.

Plan a route.
Discuss what will happen when you come home – can they dump their sweets on the floor? What may he or she eat?

Keep it simple.

Practice, practice, practice!

You may be surprised at how helpful another child can be!

On the big night, remember to be flexible. If your well-prepared child suddenly rebels against his costume, consider letting him go in just a silly hat.

Have fun!

When you’re done, put together a memory book that can help you prepare for next year.


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