Making the most of Halloween when your child is on the spectrum

Halloween can be a great way encouraging children (and adults) to take part in creative group activities and for kids with learning difficulties a great opportunity to help them gain more confidence in social situations.
The Halloween holiday gets children away from their smart devices and take part in making all types of things from scary pumpkins to freaky festive party food. Something that some children with special needs don’t always get to experience because breaking routine and doing something new can often lead to anxiety and destress. There is a tremendous amount of satisfaction that comes with being able to complete tasks or do something you didn’t think you could so always keep that in mind when you are trying to encourage a special needs child to take part in a creative activity with others.


The Halloween holiday can be overwhelming for kids with learning difficulties as they often experience sensory sensitivity and anxiety when their regular routine is broken. There are strategies to help cope and enjoy taking part if we apply a little extra planning, The key is to keep levels of ability in mind at all times and remember to be supportive – every step of the way. For those with visual impairment, tactile activities are imperative (clay, masks, puppets, etc.)


Here are some helpful tips for learning the best methods of encouragement and to avoid a meltdown
  • Give your child time to adjust. Be sure to explain Halloween to your child as thoroughly as possible so they have an idea of what to expect. This will also prepare your child for some of the unusual things they’re likely to encounter on the day.
  • Remember at all times that special needs children do not misbehave on purpose.
  • Keep a record of your child’s achievements. This way you will have a diary of fun activities and experiences that you both enjoyed to look back on and see what ideas you had most success with
  • Do not overdo the rules. Flexibility is key here. Remember – being creative and having fun should be spontaneous and messy. How much fun can it be when all you hear is , “Don’t make a mess” and “Sit properly.”
  • Learn how to communicate through actions. Taking turns, arranging art materials, discovering a fun secret way of communicating can be lots of fun.
  • Pick comfortable and familiar costumes
  • Find alternatives to unhealthy trick-or-treat snacks
  • Involve friends and family. The best way to learn social skills is when you can practise them with familiar people
  • Create your own Halloween tradition so it become routine for next year

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