I have always considered Halloween to be the beginning of the holiday season. It seems from this point until January 2 life gains a little more weight, literally and metaphorically. Weight on my hips (I have an unhealthy relationship with mini Twix bars) and the weight of stress, worry, anxiety, and confusion for families who live life on the spectrum.
Holidays are a funny time for parents and children. This whole Santa Claus thing cracks me up a bit. 364 days a year we tell our children to stay away from strangers…then Christmas arrives. The day when we ask our child(ren) to sit on the lap of a stranger…and not just any stranger. A bearded, red-suited, chunky man…seriously, how weird is that?
Halloween presents some challenges for all children and I suspect when many people read this they will nod their heads in agreement. It may be an equalizing holiday. Equalizing in the sense that even children not on the spectrum because more ‘like’ children on the spectrum…too much sugar, too many parties, too many noises, too many funny ‘feels.’ Halloween is not fun for everyone. Halloween can be tough stuff…
When you have a child on the spectrum it’s nearly impossible to just go and buy a costume. For Tucker, this was certainly the case in his younger years. We had to choose costumes that…
weren’t too tight
weren’t too loose
weren’t too itchy
weren’t too smelly
weren’t too bright
weren’t too heavy
weren’t too light
weren’t too anything. So what do you do?
Get creative…well, really – get normal.
Shorts, jersey = football player
Pants, khaki shirt, whip = Indiana Jones
My personal favorite was Kindergarten. The weight of anxiety came over me. How do I send this child to school with some sort of real costume, but help him deal with it all? Not only his own sensory stuff…everything that was ‘out of order’ in his life.
The loud parties.
The ‘parade’ with all the people, the smells, the colors, the noise.
The ‘appropriateness’ of trick or treating.
New places, new faces.
The unknown….so, so, so much unknown.
Minimize. Minimize his own sensory stuff so that he can deal with his surroundings. So, he went as Shaggy – green shirt, khaki pants, and a painted mystery machine hanging over his shoulder.
If that isn’t the cutest boy ever!! Whew…what a doll he was (I meant is). Yes, he’s missing his clothes…well….because this is how he resides in our house most of the time. Clothing is not his friend (see Day #237 – Nudist Colony).
So, on this holiday – be patient and be kind and be thoughtful and spread love to all children. Happy Halloween!