Halloween for most people can be a fun and exciting time filled with scary costumes, bright lights, and loud music, but it can be a nightmare for children on the autism spectrums and their families.
Dressing up in costumes, trick or treating, running around the neighborhood screaming and laughing. Just another Halloween for most children and their families. This exciting day turns routines and regular activities upside down and because of that and combined with the noise and excitement; it can be disastrous for children on the autism spectrum.
It isn’t unusual for children on the autism spectrum or other sensory sensitivities to simply sit out Halloween at home and at school because it can be too overwhelming. For others, there is often a long build-up before Halloween trying to prepare for the night’s festivities.
While most children and people enjoy Halloween, for others it can be difficult. This is a serious issue for schools which are trying to be more accommodating of children with special needs, children with different religious beliefs and cultural beliefs that clash with Halloween. Trying to find the right balance is becoming so difficult many schools are moving away from celebrating traditions such as Halloween altogether.
In Elgin-based School District U-46, some elementary schools do not plan special events surrounding Halloween, said spokeswoman Mary Fergus. Administrators there recognize that not all students mark the day, and they want to be inclusive of all students, she said.
And in St. Charles Community Unit School District 303, officials have curtailed Halloween celebrations in recent years, said spokeswoman Carol Smith. They simplified activities for a variety of reasons, including an awareness of students with severe food allergies and differences in cultural beliefs, she said.
It’s important that all children feel welcome in their own school, no matter what their culture and beliefs are. What do you think about Halloween and how do you help your children prepare for the holiday?