Break The Mold
Halloween should be fun right? Dressing up and collecting a bunch of candy sounds like a lot of fun, but it may not be quite that easy for all children. Lots of noises, effects, lights and costumes can cause major overload for a child with Autism and/or Sensory Processing Disorder. Here are a few tips and costume suggestions to make you and your child's Halloween a more enjoyable experience!
- Go trick or treating early. Going earlier in the afternoon can ensure less crowds and probably less spooky effects from overly decorated homes.
- Use your child's trick or treat bag as part of their costume. This will help incorporate it into the costume, without it having to be worn on their body, which can greatly affect a child with Autism or SPD.
- Trick or treat at family and friends houses so your child will feel more comfortable in environments that they are familiar with.
- If your child uses noise cancelling headphones, consider incorporating that into their costume as well.
- Dress up along with your child & try some dynamic duos! Most importantly have fun!
- Charlie Brown: Yellow collared shirt with black chevron stripe (Use a sharpie or fabric paint). Black shorts, yellow socks & brown shoes. Glue a Snoopy plush onto their trick-or-treat bag for an even more complete look.
- Monster eyes: Try doing a really easy monster outfit. Allow your child to wear their everyday clothing and glue white felt circles, with smaller black felt circles inside, onto the shirt to make spooky monster eyes.
- Lumberjack: Jeans, boots and a flannel shirt make for a simple Lumberjack costume. If your child doesn't mind hats, throw on a hat for added effect.
- Sports player: A really simple costume for any category of sports. Football jersey with black smudges underneath their eyes, or basketball jersey and shorts. There are so many options here! Use fabric paint to paint a corresponding ball onto a pillow case and use it as a trick-or-treat bag.
- Skeleton: Dress your child in all black and use duct tape or fabric paint to paint bones onto the clothing for a simple and comfortable skeleton costume.
- Clark Kent: A classic costume that is so simple! Jeans and a Superman T-Shirt with a white button up over top. If your child wears glasses, that's an even better feature to this costume!
- Burglar: Black and white striped outfit (black beanie optional). Paint or Sharpie a money symbol onto a pillow case and use it as the trick-or-treat bag.
- Waldo: Red and white stripes and jeans (Hat optional). If your child wears glasses, that's an even better feature to this costume!
- Harry Potter: Black pants & Shoes with a white button up shirt. Add the classic yellow & red striped tie or scarf to complete the look. If your child isn't comfortable wearing a tie or scarf, you can always paint a tie on the front of the button up using fabric paint.
- Hermione Granger: Black skirt & Shoes with a white button up shirt. Add the classic yellow & red striped tie or scarf to complete the look. If your child isn't comfortable wearing a tie or scarf, you can always paint a tie on the front of the button up using fabric paint.
- Hunter: Dress your child in Camouflage and pair it with boots for a quick and easy costume. Make it a duo by having a parent or sibling dress as a deer.
- Zoo Keeper: Cargo shorts and a plain white T-Shirt make this one of the easier costumes to throw together. Add a sticker name badge or patch on the shirt to make it look more like a uniform. Attach small plush animals to a pillow case and use it for the trick-or-treat bag to complete the look.
- Lilo: A long red t-shirt and black sandals make this a really easy look for a little girl. Use fabric paint or cut out felt Hawaiian leaves and attach to shirt/dress. Make it a duo by having a parent or sibling dress as Stitch.
- DJ: If your child wears noise cancelling headphones this costume couldn't be easier and more functional. Allow your child to dress in their everyday clothing, add their noise cancelling headphones and you're all set! If you're feeling creative, try painting a DJ Mixer onto a pillow case and use it as a trick-or-treat bag.
- Dora: Dress your child in a pink T-Shirt, orange shorts and use the purple backpack to collect candy.
- Marty McFly: Pair Jeans and a Jean Jacket with a plaid shirt and orange vest. Make it a duo by having a parent or sibling dress as Doc to complete the look.
- Man with the yellow hat: Dress your child in all yellow clothing, with a yellow hat and attach Curious George to a pillow case to use as a trick-or-treat bag.
- Katniss Everdeen: Choose tan, green or black pants and pair it with a black T-Shirt. Style your child's hair in a side braid and add any style pin or brooch to the top left lapel.
- Farmer: Any colored top and jean overalls make this a really simple costume to put together. If you're feeling creative you can try making a trick-or-treat sack out of bandana fabric for a more complete look.
- Salt: Dress your child in all white and use a Sharpie or fabric paint to add the letter "S" on the front of the shirt. Make it a duo by having a parent or sibling dress as pepper.
- Pepper: Dress your child in all black and use White-Out or fabric paint to add the letter "P" on the front of the shirt. Make it a duo by having a parent or sibling dress as salt.
- Boo (Monster's Inc): Dress your child in a long pink T-Shirt with purple leggings and white socks. Style their hair in pigtails with pink ribbon or hair tie on each side. Make it a duo by having a parent or sibling dress as Sully.
- Hulk: This costume involves some layering but all of the clothing will be basic cotton items. Pair together a long sleeved green shirt and green tights/leggings. Cut the bottom hem off a white T-Shirt and use scissors to cut some slashes throughout, then place it on top of the green long sleeved shirt. Cut the hem in a Chevron pattern along the bottom of black shorts and place them on top of the green pants. This outfit is perfect for a child that prefers to be barefoot!
- Magic Eight Ball: Dress your child in all black and use Fabric paint to paint a white circle on the T-Shirt. Allow that to dry and then paint a black number "8" inside of the circle.
- Doctor: Dress your child in all blue with a white open lab coat. Since doctor/nurse costumes are fairly simple, this can be a purchased costume instead of a DIY.
After four weeks of a Gluten Free diet, I didn't seem to notice too many differences in Dylan's behavior. I've read that going Gluten Free, as well as Casein free, would be the most prevalent as far as seeing results. However, what may not have worked for us, doesn't mean it won't work for another. I encourage all parents to at least give other methods a try and see if they find any of them beneficial.
The past several weeks have been chaotic in other ways, as I have been trying to gain new services for my son. After various insurance calls, coordinator calls, research and advocating, I have successfully found a new speech therapist and received approval for ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy. My best advice from going through these changes, is, if you're unhappy with any of your child's therapists to take the leap and ask for a new therapist. Although very stressful and discouraging, in the end, I found that I made the best choice for Dylan and feel that he is going to excel in many ways, that he may not have with his other therapist. I am beyond excited to see how these new services will benefit him!
Changes are coming