Halloween is filled with so much rich sensory input. It’s a holiday where we break social norms and teach our children to go up to scary houses and take candy from strangers while dressed in strange costumes. It’s no wonder some of our children are mystified by the holiday. Most importantly, though, the point of Halloween is for children and families to have fun together. Some children love EVERYTHING about Halloween. Some children may need a little more…or a lot more support to enjoy the holiday. We here at Kids Place Therapy Services are happy to share some thoughts on supporting your superhero, butterfly, witch… during this holiday.
Halloween may be experienced in many ways. If your child is able to go out and Trick-or-Treat, follow your child’s cues. Perhaps tonight you may stay out for 2 hours. It’s okay, though, if you head home after 20 minutes. It’s also okay if your child prefers to stay home and help hand out candy. Social skills practice and sensory exploration can be gained from home on Halloween too. However, for safety reasons, you might want to have an adult open the door to maintain the continuity of teaching your child not to open the door to strangers.
Consider that your child has many opportunities to practice the same skill over and over again today. While Trick-or-Treating, the first few houses can be used for “warming up”. If a child wants to hang back while others go up this can be a good opportunity for a child to see what to expect and what is expected. The same concept may apply for children handing out candy at home.
Some houses may appear brighter, louder, darker or just scarier than others. After warming up it might be that your child can go up to some houses more easily than others. This is okay, continue to follow your child’s cues. You may also help your child “warm up” while handing out candy at home. Some costumes may provide just too much sensory input. Following your child’s cues and allowing your child to take breaks as needed may help increase and even extend the fun!
Happy Halloween from our families to yours!!