Tips for an Autism-Friendly Halloween

Tips for an Autism-Friendly Halloween

When the air turns crisp and the leaves start to fall, that means Halloween is right around the corner. This spooky holiday allows children to dress up as their favorite characters and receive free candy, which makes this day a pretty big deal. However, if your child is on the autism spectrum, Halloween can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate. Although it may seem daunting, there are steps you can take to ensure your little one doesn’t miss out on any of the fun. While it may take some preparation, Halloween can end up being a fun memory and event your child will be happy they didn’t miss. So, how do you make this happen? Check out our top Halloween tips for autism for achieving a fun, autism-friendly Halloween this year. 


Planning Ahead and Finding the Right Costumes for Children with Autism

Group of little kids with autism in halloween costumes

Preparation and planning can be very helpful before any big event like Halloween for a child diagnosed with autism. To better prepare your child for what will happen that day, you can create a visual story that explains what Halloween is like and what your child’s day will look like. This can be an explanation of any school parties or trick-or-treating itself. You can even do a practice run at a neighbor’s house so they know what trick-or-treating will bel like. By doing this, your child will know what to expect and is less likely to be alarmed by what’s going on. In addition, Autism Speaks provides a wonderfully simple and explanatory guide to Halloween that is perfect for children of any age.


The next step is finding the perfect costume. Autism-friendly Halloween costumes are easier to come by than you think, and it just takes a little creativity to find the right one. No matter what you go with, it’s important that your child likes their costume and is comfortable. Here are our top five autism-friendly Halloween costumes to give you some ideas. 


Hoodie Costumes

These are simple and available at many different stores. From SpiderMan to Ninja Turtles to a unicorn, there are a lot of options for your child to choose from. On the flip side, you can make your own costume from a plain sweatshirt, such as a dinosaur or bat. This is a great option as a sweatshirt is comfortable, cozy, and something your child wears normally anyway. If you happen to live in a cold climate, this is also an easy way to keep your child warm when it’s time to trick-or-treat. 


Everyday Clothes Costumes

On the same idea of using something your child wears every day, this costume is simple and comfortable. Put your kiddo in a red-striped shirt, beanie, and glasses and they’ve become Where’s Waldo or put them in overalls and a red shirt to become Mario from Super Mario Brothers. While these are just a couple of suggestions, you can find many ideas about everyday clothes costumes. This simple costume can put your child at ease while being creative as well. 

Pajama Costumes

Another comfortable choice, there are plenty of spooky PJ’s available around Halloween. Your child can be a skeleton, pumpkin, or even Batman while still feeling safe and cozy. Have your child start wearing these pajamas before Halloween so they get used to them and will feel at ease when wearing them out. 

Lab Coat or Scrubs Costumes

Portrait of boy dressed as scientist posing agains board in classroom

Dress your child up as an evil scientist, helpful nurse, or any medical professional with a simple lab coat or pair of scrubs. Another comfy costume, scrubs can be very soft once they’re washed, which makes it even more appealing for your child. Lab coats are also large enough that you can use layers underneath so your kiddo will feel safe and secure.

Utilize Accessories

If you’re having a hard time finding the right costume, use accessories to make a costume instead. A simple pair of cat ears or a fun pumpkin hat will instantly transform your child’s favorite, everyday clothes into a fun costume. 


Trick-or-Treating and Autism

The main event of Halloween is the part with the free candy: trick-or-treating. This can be a very overwhelming activity as is and if you have a child with autism, it’s especially important to be prepared. As we mentioned earlier, doing a test run at a neighbor’s house a few days before can be a great way to ease your little one into the chaos that can be trick-or-treating. In recent years, parents have been using blue trick-or-treating buckets to raise awareness and notify the treat givers that their child is on the autism spectrum. The movement has grown every year since it began and has become a great way to silently explain why your child may not say “Thank you” or even “Trick-or-Treat!” 

On the flip side, homes that are passing out candy have been putting a blue pumpkin on their front porch to indicate they have non-food items to hand out. This simply means they are handing out glow sticks or small toys in an effort to be more inclusive to those with food allergies or other conditions. By speaking to your friends and neighbors beforehand, you can help them participate in making Halloween fun for all children and to be inclusive for everyone. 

The Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning is Here to Help You Have a Fun, Autism-Friendly Halloween

Halloween is a fun and spooky holiday that should be celebrated by all. At the Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning, we are here to help you navigate every holiday from Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Fourth of July. Our team at the center is here to help you and your child however we can. From preschool to adolescence, we have services for children of all ages. If you’re interested in learning more about our center or if you want more tips for an autism-friendly Halloween, contact us today and we’ll be happy to help!