All parents know that there are circumstances which are out of our control when it comes to preparing for their particular child’s Halloween experience every year such as weather, sickness, and how each individual child will perceive or cope with their surroundings. If you have a child with special needs, you know that this can be a particularly over-stimulating time of year for our children. This is when you can use everything that you have learned, as a parent of a child with special needs, to “prepare” and “prevent” those unpredictable circumstances from having a devastating effect on your child’s Halloween experience. These are just some of the things that we should keep in mind as we approach the upcoming Halloween and your scheduled “Trick-or-Treat” excursion:
- Make sure that your special needs child is getting adequate sleep to handle the expected change in the seasons and overall surroundings. If your child is reacting to stimulus more than usual, then he or she may need a short nap, to help rejuvenate and refreshen them, before going out that night to tackle “Trick or Treat”, Halloween-themed party or any other related excursion during this time of the year.
- When planning for your child’s “Trick or Treat” experience, be sure that your child is healthy enough to participate in this annual event. If your child normally experiences the sniffles, a dry throat which will lead to an irritating cough or has difficulty breathing, especially when the seasons change, you will want to make your special needs child as comfortable as possible to ensure him, or her, a great Halloween.
- If the weather is cold, windy or even raining, you either might want to think about how to keep your special needs child warm and dry, or even consider cancelling the outdoor aspect of your scheduled “Trick or Treat” event. You might be able to find friends who want to have an impromptu party for everyone’s children instead, or search for another type of indoor event like at a nearby mall or school where your child can still enjoy the outing.
- Plan for excitement, anxiety and overstimulation, oh my! Keep the event as calm and “low-key”, as possible to prevent your child from getting frustrated. Give him or her a special flashlight, a certain colored glow stick, a glow necklace or a glow bracelet so that your child can see around them in the dark. This will give your child something to focus on and a sense of security to their Halloween experience. Having enough light around your child will also give you a chance to see how your child is doing, by the expression on their face. If you forget, most phones have a flashlight app that you can download.
- Be sure to remember your child will need an easy opening bag for collecting those treats! Select something as simple as a traditional orange, or other colored, halloween bucket. There is also the option of picking up a bucket that matches your child’s costume, if available. These have become quite popular with the children and you might be able to choose between a hard bucket or a soft prefabricated one.
I know it’s a lot to think about for one night of fun but, it is a very important process when it comes to making that special memory for your child. No matter what you do, your child will appreciate the effort that you have put into this Halloween. Don’t forget to take a few minutes for yourself while preparing everything for your child’s Trick-or-Treat excursion on Halloween night. You will need your energy just as much as your child does. Eat small healthy snacks to keep you energized, drink plenty of water and prepare yourself, just as you are doing above, for your child. Remember to take some small treasures in your pocket, that won’t melt, that you can share with your child. This will be the best Halloween ever, making YOU the hero in your child’s eyes! Enjoy it as much as you can and share this with someone in the special needs community. Please remember to come back to share your experience with us after you have gotten a good night’s rest, of course!!
Have a great Halloween!