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Thrive Autism Solutions Blog

Halloween and Autism: Alternatives for Your Child

Posted by Thrive Autism Solutions on Oct 15, 2019, 12:30:00 AM

Thrive Autism Solutions

Halloween can be a fun time of year with candy and costumes, but if your child is easily over-stimulated, the excitement can quickly turn stressful. For some children, wearing a costume or approaching a stranger for candy may be difficult. If you’re hesitant to tackle the traditional rituals of Halloween, here are some alternatives that may help make your holiday evening fun and stress-free.

  1. Comfy Costumes - Instead of purchasing a costume that might have abrasive fabric or restricting ties, consider getting some comfortable Halloween t-shirts or pajamas in a fabric they prefer. Hats, capes, or single accessories like a wand or sword can also turn everyday clothing into a quick costume.

  2. Stay Home - Instead of going trick-or-treating, stay at home and hand out candy with your child. Allowing them to observe their peers might make them feel more comfortable, especially for younger children who have not experienced Halloween often. If your child gets tired or needs a break, you’re already at home and can easily turn off the porch lights.

  3. Hitch a Ride – Save energy and stamina for the social interactions and consider pulling your child in a wagon between houses. It gives them a bubble of personal space and also limits their ability to dart off or get lost.

  4. Helpful Hints to Neighbors – If your child uses an alternative way of communicating, consider making a card for your child to show neighbors or program a one-touch “Trick or Treat” button on their Assistive Communication Device. You can purchase (or even create) a special trick-or-treat bag that explains your child might need help participating in the traditional trick-or-treating experience. Some families use a blue pumpkin bucket to help bring autism awareness to Halloween!

  5. Party Early - Finally, don’t be afraid to look for alternative events and skip the trick-or-treating altogether. Check your local library or newspaper for postings of sensory-friendly parties or “truck or treat” celebrations that might be more in tune with your child’s needs.

Whatever you decide to do, we hope you have a happy and safe Halloween from all of us here at Thrive!


A new autism diagnosis typically comes along with many questions. To help, we created a guide packed with helpful information on what parents, siblings, friends, and others can expect. 

New to the Spectrum: A Parent's Guide to a New Autism Diagnosis

Tags: Autism, Tips