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Halloween for children on the Autism Spectrum

Halloween items are in the stores along with costume selections. Although my children are 9 and 10, only Nicholas has ever worn a Halloween costume - and that was only once, over a year ago. It was the year he was heavily interested in Yu-gi-oh!

For the most part Nicholas enjoyed wearing the Yu-gi-Oh! costume. It can be an uncomfortable day for any child wearing a costume while attending school all day. It never seemed to bother Nicholas all the other years that he was not wearing a costume while the majority of other students were in costume attire. The costume is available in several sizes at
Amazon.
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Yu-Gi-Oh
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I will not try to force my child on the Autism Spectrum to wear a costume because it is Halloween. Everyone in my household has some sort of sensory issue. Not one of us can tolerate tags in the clothing. One time I lucked out and bought some Seamless socks for my kids. Nicholas will only wear socks that are full size, while Matthew prefers smaller ones. Both button down and turtleneck shirts do not exist in our closets. Wool is avoided as well, especially with my eczema and asthma issues. No one really likes wearing hats, long sleeves is hard to transition into after wearing short sleeve shirts for eight months.

All Halloween costumes seem to be the type you have to step into - which presents problems for Matthew who is not toilet trained. Luckily I know better to even try a costume on him and have sent him to school in regular clothing.

We are all picky eaters and not interested in getting our hands gooey, so pumpkin carving is not a craft we have ever tried. I believe Nicholas has done this at school a few times - that experience is enough to satisfy him and no requests to do it at home. There are no decorations to contend with, those are reserved for Christmas - where the tree goes up on Thanksgiving and down on President's Day.

Halloween to Nicholas means standing outside and handing out the goodies to all the other kids visiting. He really has no idea who these people are since it is dark by the time they roll around the neighborhood. We have flashlights to keep both boys busy, with Matthew some years staying indoors. It all depends on the weather and time. Nicholas looks forward to this aspect of trick or treating every year.

We only keep a bag of candy for our own consumption with monitoring of Nicholas and how much he eats. The school has a parade for all the kids to march around the playground in their costumes. Once the parade is over the playground has many games and the motorized ball pit for some jumping time. I do find parents need to use caution in letting their children bounce and play games while in their costumes. Some have strings that can get caught or pose a choking hazard.

For parents that are brave enough to place their child in a costume this Halloween you have plenty of time now to plan ahead, try out the costumes and make sure they are a good fit. Have your child practice walking and sitting while wearing the costume. Take into consideration the weather at the end of October and what their favorite characters are.

Looking at various retailers online and ebay gives you a good sense of what is popular and can get a reaction from your child before heading out to the stores. While I am one who likes buying onine to avoid taking two children on the Autism Spectrum into the store or mall, with a child that has sensory issues you might want to touch the fabrics and get a feel for it instead of online shopping.
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If your child is not wearing a costume make sure they know there is nothing wrong with them, some children would rather wear regular clothing and just wear a costume when they go out trick or treating. If your child is afraid of going around to houses that might appear scary at night seeing others dressed up in dark outfits and costumes, keep them home and hand out candy from the front yard or at the doorway.

The child can wear the costume to go to neighboring houses and relatives where the environment is safe and familiar. Halloween is not a big deal at my house and I am glad with that. It can be a time for children to hone in on their social skills, role play with the characters they are dressed up as and learn to share their treats they have received.

It has always disturbed me that the Daylight Savings Time takes place right before Halloween. I would prefer this to start after Halloween so the kids can start their trick or treating earlier in the daytime light. The new Daylight Savings Time schedule that is to go into effect in 2007 will bring four more weeks of DST making it from March to November.

I am curious to know if the Social Skills training program Nicholas attends will be covering Halloween. I will update this article accordingly. Strategies from other Parents contains some good ideas, especially for younger children and includes Halloween parties.

Feel free to post in the Forum any hints, tips or questions you may have relating to Halloween and children on the Autism Spectrum.


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