Halloween can be a fun time for our little ghosts and goblins. It’s also become an “Awareness” holiday. Teal pumpkins show support for kids with food allergies by offering non-food treats. A child carrying a yellow pumpkin indicates they child has disabilities. Purple pumpkins promote awareness of children with epilepsy and seizures. Even Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) spreads awareness and a reminder to have a safe holiday with a red pumpkin, and pink pumpkins honor breast cancer fighters and survivors.
With this increased awareness, more education can be shared. Families who have children with disabilities may struggle because their child “looks typical”, has difficulties with all the excitement around the holiday or a teenage/adult who is trick or treating. Use trick or treat cards (or many other printable tools) to help your child ask for treats and to educate families about how children communicate differently.
Kids may also need to be prepared for the holiday to make it more fun. Families may consider going to a limited number of houses close by or to neighbors with whom they are familiar. You may even consider asking your neighbors if you can go trick or treating to their homes a day before when there’s not as many people. Bring along a visual schedule so your child knows which houses they are going to or a check list to see how many more houses are remaining.
Again this year, Pediatric Interactions, Inc. is participating in Autism Family Cares Trunk or Treat at SEDOL on Sunday, October 13 and Grayslake Downtown Business Trick or Treating on Saturday, October 26. Your child can also come to therapy in costume during the week of Halloween and we will have activities to participate in during sessions.
Overall, be flexible and have fun! The night may go differently than you envisioned. Rather than saying “I wish it would have gone….”, reframe your thinking to find the unexpected events and the good things that came with it. So put on your costume and go get some treats together with your family this Halloween.
Written by Sarah Rosten, MA, CCC-SLP/L