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Halloween tips and ideas for trick-or-treaters with autism

We reached out to the Autism Speaks community for their advice on the best ways to make this year's Halloween a successful and fun event! 

  • "Last year I practiced trick or treating with my son in the days leading up to Halloween. He would knock on the door to the bedroom, I would open it, and he would say "trick or treat!" Then I would give him a little toy or candy to put in his bag."Holly
  • "The most important thing is do what is fun for your child and don't be too hard on yourself if a meltdown happens anyway." - Kari 
  • "One good idea (if you're close with your neighbors) is telling a few neighbors ahead of time to provide something specific for when the child comes to the door as an alternative in case they don't like candy (in either a flyer or maybe meeting with them in person)...like a toy or pretzels or something. The parent of the child can bring it to the neighbors to give out to the child with autism so that they don't feel different or left out if they don't eat candy." - Nicole
  • "Jackson doesn’t like the feel of most costumes, so for the past few years, he just wears a funny Halloween t-shirt. He is still being festive, without being uncomfortable. We also print out a card like this and tape it to his treat bucket so when he is unable to respond to questions or say trick or treat and the home owner can be more understanding. Spreading autism awareness AND getting candy – that’s a win-win for us!" - J-Jaye
  • "My son is 15 yrs old, and he is finally enjoying Halloween.   Every year was a struggle, he never liked the costumes and we never went trick or treating. This year he is asking to wear his costume, even though it is the same one from last year, I don’t care!"  Denise
  • "I make my little dude's costume out of a sweat pants & a hoodie- we've done a parrot & the stay puff marshmallow man, and working on the Incredible Hulk for this year:) He looks cute, and is warm & comfy." - Kemrie
  • "Don't feel like you have to do it! If the child is not enjoying it don't feel obligated to participate because every other kid loves it. It is ok." - Peggy

Great autism-friendly ideas for Halloween!

1. Finally, for those who may not be able to say Trick or Treat, try these Happy Halloween cards that your children can hand out. Learn more at Behavior Frontiers here.  

2. Try a Sensory-Friendly Halloween Party! There are many elements of Halloween that can be unpleasant for kids with social, communication and sensory issues. You can focus on what your child enjoys by throwing a small, sensory-friendly Halloween party at your home. After all, who doesn’t love a good party? Include activities that avoid sensory triggers. Learn more at Easter Seals here

3. Trick or Treat your Halloween revelers to some autism awareness with this crafty idea! All you need is a puzzle piece printout to trace onto the pumpkin and some white and blue acrylic paint! You can check out some of the puzzle piece printout traces here. You can read more about 7 other DIY autism awareness pumpkin designs here

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.