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12 Tricks to Make This Halloween a Treat

Some kiddos need a little extra support while trick-or-treating. Whether you are a caregiver or a neighbor, you can do your part to ensure the night goes smoothly and enjoyably for all. Be sure to check out the downloadable social story and the shareable flyer!

For caregivers

  1. Write a schedule to outline what the night will look like. This will help your kiddo know what to expect and will make her feel more in control. It might help to pick out a number of houses you will visit to help structure the night and know when it will be over, too. Include how many pieces of candy she can have at the end of the night. Go over the schedule in the days preceding Halloween. Download a fillable social story here: Trick or Treating Social Story
  2. Practice trick-or-treating so your kiddo knows what to say or how to use their device to trick-or-treat in an expected way.
  3. Come up with a list of “expected” and “unexpected” behaviors while trick-or-treating. This will support your kiddo to know how to respond in various circumstances (ie there isn’t candy you like, someone has a costume that you think is ugly, etc). It will also explain the norms expected such as: I take one or two pieces instead of a fist full of candy, or I walk to the door instead of running.
  4. Plan for alternative transportation if your kiddo becomes fatigued or no longer wants to carry his bag of candy. Maybe bring a wagon or a stroller that will help avoid a meltdown as he starts to get tired.
  5. Model the behavior for your child if he/she gets nervous at the door (ie, say “trick-or-treat!”)

For those who want to be more inclusive

  1. Avoid loud music and unexpected noises from decorations, or when you open the door.
  2. Prompt kiddos to “tell me about your costume” instead of asking them what they are to promote communication at their level.
  3. Clearly mark any steps or uneven surfaces to avoid trips and falls for those kiddos who might have mobility challenges. Leave the path well lit.
  4. If a kiddo is having difficulty choosing a candy, the number of choices might be overwhelming. Pick 3 candies out of the bowl to present to them to make the choice easier.
  5. If a kiddo pushes past others or takes a handful of candy when you asked him to take one, try to cue with language that reaffirms what TO DO instead of what NOT to do (ie: “Oh, we are waiting in line to pick out the candy” instead of “Do not push.”)
  6. If possible, have a treat that is a nut free option.
  7. If a kiddo is shy, ask the adult with them to model the behavior (ie: “oh, I bet your dad would want to pick one out of the bowl, and he will say trick or treat first!”)

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