Saturday, September 6, 2008

Halloween Experiences for those on the Autism Spectrum

Halloween is just around the corner. Stores have had costumes stocked for a few weeks now. With school back in session students will be discussing which characters they will be wearing as a costume or if you are The Sewing Mom you are making costumes.

I have one article on my site for Halloween, which I did three years ago. I want to have more options available for readers to gain insights into the Halloween Experience for the child on the autism spectrum.

My 12 and 13 year old do not participate in Halloween. Their Elementary Schools had parades. I would pick up Matthew early and he would wear regular clothes to school. Now that he is in Middle School I am not sure what the procedure is for this Holiday in terms of wearing the uniform to school or allowing a costume. Nicholas is homeschooled with California Virtual Academy so he will be home.

I am looking for input from families that have had past experiences with their child on the autism spectrum by wearing a costume to school, participating in a party at class or elsewhere, and also those that have parties in their home and take their kids out for trick or treating.

If you have blogged about it and interested in sharing your link please post it in the comments. If you want to create a blog post please let me know your website address so I can follow when it gets posted. If you are planning already for this year you can also comment here about the preparations and let me know if this is something I can include in my article.

As an example I can just say that a Mom in NY to a 4 year old boy did this and that. If you want me to link to your blog please indicate that as well. I would like to have an article helping new families gain insights from other families on what type of costumes kids can handle, how long they last outside doing the visiting of homes, what about barking dogs, diet issues for treats and parties and sensory issues with the costumes and makeup, etc. If there is a certain book, CD or DVD you have used to help prepare for Halloween, please share. I have reviewed a few Winnie the Pooh ones and curious to know if any exist specifically for those on the autism spectrum.

I am looking forward to hearing from other autism families on their experiences sine we just bypass the Holiday and wait for November to show up. If you have any recipes or blog post on gluten casein free treats please share those here.

14 comments:

Karla Akins said...

Well, I probably won't help you very much because we don't celebrate Halloween. However, we do celebrate other holidays where the kids have to dress up. The Christmas program, for example. We approached it as casually as possible. We encouraged them to wear the costume, and offered a reward of some kind, but we didn't make them wear one. For example, when the twins were about 4 they were shepherds in the Christmas play but didn't want to wear the towels on their head. We made a deal with them just to wear it up to the stage -- and then the lady who was helping them walked them up and right on off and they removed it. LOL. It was HARD for them, and there were some tears, but they did it! It was a tiny victory.

The boys don't go to stores with me very much so they don't see all the Halloween junk that's in the stores. But they do see it in the grocery store and they do comment on it, but they know it's not a holiday we recognize, and we talk about that. They seem fine with it.

We do have Hallelujah night at our church, and dressing up as a historical person is encouraged rather than a ghost or vampire or whatever. Sometimes the boys talk about dressing as something but when it comes time to do it they don't want to. They have allowed their faces to be painted before, though. Isaac is more into it than Isaiah by far. Isaiah has always been the one to hold back a lot more.

When it came to public school participation -- they were in public school until 1st grade (did two years of Kindergarten) I just kept them home on the day of the parties. I was doing the teachers a big favor by doing that, anyway, and the school never complained about it.

Lynne said...

Thank you very much for the link!

My daughter is 12 and still enjoys Halloween, she's talking about being a Taco this year! I think she just really enjoys the costume part of it and having her friends come over to walk around the neighborhood the night of Halloween.

Mama Mara said...

I started to write a response then realized I could easily fill up several of these little comment boxes. You've inspired me to write a post sometime this week, with, of course, a link back to you.

Be afraid. Very, very afraid.

My Autism Insights said...

My son loves Halloween. He doesn't usually have trouble with costumes - we usually have clothes on underneath or else I make the costumes. As for trick-or-treating, he usually ends up being the leader of sorts. He'll go to a house and other kids will follow behind him, then he leaves to go to the next one. It's actually rather efficient. His desire to get out of the crowd speeds up trick-or-treating considerably. Candy has never been an issue because as a rule, we always take the candy bags and sort out what the kids can/can't have. Then candy gets doled out very sparingly over a long period of time, and chocolate just magically disappears. Hope that helps.

I am Jamie Sue! said...

Last year my son was four. I made his costume because that allowed me more control over the fabric textures. Overall the experience was good, but some house are a little overwhelming with all the lights and sounds.

Holly Nappi Collins said...

My high functioning autistic son loved halloween---loved getting dressed up in his favorite character (dropping a good 50+ bucks for it) But they are only young once. But this year, he is not hinting to halloween so I'm thinking (at 14) he is all grown up--but I cant be sure. Lets hope, because I hated halloween--is that bad? But no problems or issues, unless a wardrobe malfunction (cheap 50.00 costumes) happend (and my son lost his superhero spirit) then we had a problem--melt down before the halloween adventure.

hellokittiemama said...

Just posted part 1 about selecting a costume and trick or treating etc with a couple pics.
http://www.bonbongazette.com/2008/09/halloween-doesnt-have-to-be-frightening.html

I'll post part 2 (gfcf diet related) in the next day or so.

hellokittiemama said...

Posted my GFCF one now :)

http://www.bonbongazette.com/2008/09/gfcf-kids-can-enjoy-halloween-too.html

Simply Stork said...

I do not have any children with autism...but I used to be a preschool director...I understand how difficult any change can be to a child with autism (holidays esp.) We used to celebrate "harvest" at our center and we would spend months and months talking about all the changes in seasons etc that would be taking place. Same goes for Christmas and other major holidays. We would introduce things as slowly as possible to the envoronment so there would be as little change as possible.

~simply~

ps...I'm from the bloggy train...stoppin' in to say hello :o)

Gray Kane said...

My brother is thirteen. He finds costumes too itchy. His attention to detail is too great for him to deviate from his routine without an almost unbearable discomfort. When he was younger, he used to act as though the costume were tearing off his skin. (Fourth of July fireworks are still hell for him.)

But he's getting to an age where he understands that there are weird customs, like putting on costumes, that he just has to tolerate. And he loves candy. So he now thoroughly enjoys trick or treating and the Halloween season in general.

But he might strip naked to get out of that costume before he's fully in the house. He'll only tolerate something for so long before he's fed up with it.

Sara said...

Thanks for the headsup. I had read that but I can't afford t give Spott that prime space so I tool it off my site. Hope it works for you.

lonestar818 said...

I haven't blogged about halloween yet but I plan to :). I have already started asking the boys about costumes. The trick is getting them to stick with one thing and actually being able to find / make what they want. Mostly we do costumes that can be made using sweatsuits, since it's more comfortable for them.

Since Bitty will pretty much only wear clothes with Thomas on them, I think it's safe to say what he will want to dress up as. Lucky for me, I have two Thomas costumes that I made when CB and BH were younger. :) So that's one down, two to go.

Single Mom, Single Money said...

My daughter is now 9 and has autism. She wore a costume and I was really afraid that she would never want to take it off(she was Cinderella). Sometimes children with autism become fixated with a favorite item and it can be difficult to transition them away from it.

For me, it helped to count down in advance when it would be time for her to wear it. Her teachers were also good because they had no problem helping the students some out of their costumes if they needed to or leave them on if the child wanted it. Some of the other students in the class just dressed up simple, for instance wearing their favorite sports team T-shirt or jersey and that was their costume.

This is my first visit to your site and I would love to link back to you if that's OK!

The Insane Writer said...

We have yet to have any serious problems relating to holidays with Q. He doesn't not have full-blown autism, however. Only a form of it. There are times that he does get frustrated when it comes to certain holidays. Like when he does not understand why his sister has a birthday and he doesn't get any gifts or get to blow out the birthday candles. Here the children are not allowed to wear their costumes to school, but we will be taking the kids trick or treating. Q has already picked out his costume and can't wait to go trick or treating! :)

 
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