Halloween can be tough for children. The ghosts yelling boo! The princesses dancing about. The orange lights flashing. It's dark. It's spooky. It's overwhelming, especially for some children with autism. But even if you've always skipped out on the fun because your child doesn't seem able to handle trick-or-treating, you might be surprised what a difference a few preparations can make.

Talk About It

The best way to prepare your child is to talk about it so that he knows what to expect. Explain Halloween in a fun way. Talk about what it means to go trick-or-treating. If your child becomes interested or wants to try it, go for it.

Find the Right Costume

For some children with autism, the typical Halloween costume can be a sensory overload in itself. The cheap fabric can be itchy. The mask can be irritating. The trick is to find something that your child will be comfortable wearing. So try on any costume before buying it or opt to make a costume out of clothes your child already wears.

Make a Plan

Talk to your child about a trick-or-treating plan. As in, map out your route for the night. Talk about how you will stop at certain houses and say, "Trick or Treat." Walk through the planned path a couple of times to make sure your child is ready.


There's no way to be 100% prepared for trick-or-treating since anything can happen. So it's best to plan for the unexpected. What if your child doesn't like the candy offered? What if there are flashing lights at a house you had planned to go to and you know this will upset your child? Know what you can do in order to avoid any complications.

Know the Limits

If you know that your child won't be able to handle a full night of trick-or-treating, that's okay. Go to one or two houses if that's all he wants to do. Consider it a step in the right direction and great practice for next year. If you see something that might upset him, avoid it. This is not a good time to press his limits as you are all ready doing that by just trick-or-treating.

Skip the Treats

If your child doesn't want to go trick-or-treating, it's okay. You can have plenty of fun staying home. You can hand out candy together, watch Halloween movies or invite a few friends or family members over for a little party. As long as you are able to enjoy the holiday, it will be both a success and a wonderful memory.

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