Getting ready for Halloween? Now’s the time to think about whether your child with sensory issues and/or autism can handle a costume, trick or treating, parties, and exposure to umpteen food dyes, artificial flavors, sugars, and hydrogenated oils. I well recall candy being a rare treat when I was a kid, and now it seems I’m saying “no” to Starburst several times a day as junk food is everywhere. That said, there’s nothing like being part of a neighborhood trick or treat celebration or spooky party to create good childhood memories, IF you make some accommodations for your child with sensory issues and/or autism. Start talking about a costume now. Often, our kids are more comfortable in a costume that’s homemade or modified. Many of the store-bought ones (aside from being pricey) are scratchy or provide other unpleasant tactile input. A costume that relies on wearing a mask, uncomfortable hat, makeup, or a wig may not be tolerable for your child. Have her practice wearing the uncomfortable pieces of the costume beforehand so she doesn’t melt down on Halloween, saying, “But I can’t wear this!”
I wrote a Sensory Smart News piece on this very topic which you can find on my website, SensorySmartParent.com Halloween is a great time to for make believe and for confronting fears in an emotionally safe way. I hope yours is healthy and happy and full of spooky fun.