3 Halloween Safety tips for Kids with Autism

Picture it: It is October 31st. Your neighborhood is alive with the buzz of kids trick-or-treating from house-to-house. You are walking hand-in-hand with your child, who is looking cuter than ever in their over-the-top costume. But instead of excitement as a parent, you feel something quite different: Fear. Anxiety. Worry. Why?

Because as a parent of a child with autism, trick-or-treating brings with it much more than fun. It brings with it the need to protect your child at all costs. Protect them from overstimulation. From people who misunderstand their autistic behavior. From getting lost.

Halloween means keeping your child safe.

As Halloween approaches, I wanted to give you 3 helpful safety tips that will hopefully put your mind at ease… and allow your child a night of fun and laughter!

3 Halloween Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treating:

Let’s make sure your Halloween is not one defined by fear. Here are three tips to make this year’s trick-or-treating one of fearlessness and adventure:

1. Prepare your kiddo ahead of time

Prepare your child for trick-or-treating by using social stories and visual schedules. You can start doing this now, all the way up until Halloween. Social stories can prepare your child for what they will experience when it is actually Halloween. To make a social story, simply pick out a situation and describe it in short, narrative, first-person descriptions. You can make this fun! Visual schedule apps are really helpful too so that you can show them what trick-or-treating will look like step-by-step. This will make meltdowns and the desire to wander much less likely because your child will know what to expect.

2. Go in a group

The more eyes, the better! And the more people, the more fun:) Think about who your kiddo gets along with well, and who you trust the most to help keep an eye on your family as they trick-or-treat. If your kiddo gets overstimulated and needs to step away, that is okay. It is easiest to do that when you have a team of friends and family who can hold down the fort while you step away for a break.

3. Equip your child with a way to communicate if they need help

Giving your kiddo a way to communicate a need for help even if they get separated will both put your mind at ease AND empower them to get to safety quickly. 

This could be an AAC device, a phone, a Goally, or even a simple ID card that they can show someone. When deciding which tool to use, I would recommend making sure that it is:

  • Reliable
    • You don’t want to give your kiddo something that may or may not work. If it is a device, make sure it is fully charged.
  • Customizable
    • Every child is different, and there is no one who knows your kid like you do. Find something that empowers your child to speak or communicate in the way they like.
  • Portable
    • Make sure you can take it with you trick-or-treating. Large devices can be difficult to lug along with you as you walk from door-to-door, so be mindful of that.
  • Includes visual aids
    • Visual aids can be extremely helpful for kids to communicate what they need or want. This could even look like an easy-to-read map of your neighborhood with their house circled as “home base.”
  • 911 calling ability
    • Giving your child a way to call 9-1-1 is the best way to ensure that no matter what happens, they have a way to call for help. 

If you are at a loss for where to start, I would highly recommend looking into getting a Goally, simply because it checks all the boxes above. The Goally device actually has a safety app specifically built for things like this. It has both a digital ID card that an adult could use to call for help AND 9-1-1 calling ability. 

Halloween does not have to be a day you dread with fear. So do not let it be! Tuck these tips in your pocket and use them in the way that works best for your family. Take a deep breath… and let out a sigh of relief, knowing that you can walk your neighborhood’s streets with confidence in your child’s safety.

Written by, Kaelyn Brooks

Kaelyn Brooks lives in Denver, Colorado as an adventuresome marketing specialist at Goally. She has a heart for easing the lives of families of children with autism and other neurodiverse conditions. Through Goally, she works alongside families and clinicians to reduce stress and better the lives of the entire “village” needed to raise a child. Kaelyn’s hobbies include hiking, playing jazz, and making latte art on a slow Saturday morning. You can follow her work at the Goally FacebookInstagram, and the Goally blog. To discover more about how a Goally could be a great fit for your child, learn more at the getgoally.com.

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