Autism Topics
Halloween & the Child With Autism

Halloween For the Child with Autism

is chocked full of sensory triggers and abstract ideas that can produce overwhelming new levels of stress and anxiety. It would be easy for parents to skip this tradition because children with autism may lack the skills to participate, however, Halloween presents a great opportunity for social skills development.

Halloween is a unique opportunity where the social interaction can be modeled and is repetitive. The benefits for children with autism are the practice of:
looking at someone in the eye, how to greet others, expressing gratitude, and having patience. The key to maximizing this opportunity is through planning, preparation and sensory support.

Planning & Preparation: Don't Wait - Start Now!

  • Read Books: Introduce Halloween concepts, themes and build a halloween vocabulary
  • Introduce decorations slowly
  • Write/Use Social Skills Stories
  • Plan Route
  • Create a Schedule of Events
  • Rehearse “Trick or Treat”, “Please and Thank You” phrases and what to do if someone doesn’t answer the door
  • Introduce and try on costume

Sensory Support:

  • Know your child’s threshold for noise and activity
  • Have an escape route or quiet area for your child to regroup
  • Take a dry run of the trick or treat route. Look for houses too scary or too overwhelming
  • Create soft costumes - home made costumes are more comfortable

Don’t skip Halloween! With advanced planning and support, Halloween can a be a great opportunity for children with autism to work on social skills, participate in traditional family events and help bridge the gap with siblings and peers.

Related Resources:

Helpful Links:

Social Stories:
Sensory Links:

Children's Halloween Books

Sensory Integration Books

Social Skills Books


The ideas from the above article are provided from the practical parenting experience of an Autism Parent. It is to be used only for informational purposes only and is provided as a community service.

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