Halloween Can Be Extra Scary for Children With Autism

Bedford, VA - Halloween can be even scarier for children with Autism, but awareness can help make the night fun and successful.

"It's so different for him," said Davannah Byers, whose son Logan, 7, has Autism. "Once we get past the meltdown over the costume, because that's different clothing, or get past the meltdowns of all of the lights he usually tends to enjoy things like that."

Spooky decorations and flashing lights can cause a sensory overload for a child on the spectrum.

"Don't take it negatively or personally if you have somebody come to the door and when they look into your basket of goodies they seem a little bit disappointed," said Didi Zaryczny with Commonwealth Autism Services.

That might mean that child is on a special diet. Motor skills and boundaries are also tested on this night.

"Just picking out a piece of candy may be difficult for them," said Zaryczny.

"They may grab 6, 7, 8. There's no limits," said Byers.

Non-verbal children won't be able to say trick or treat or thank you. Parents can hand the person at the door a note to explain the child is non-verbal, and not just being rude. You can print yours here.

Another thing you might see are older children holding hands with mom and dad. Children with autism have the tendency to run off. Their parents also have concern their kids will be bullied when classmates see that.

However, Halloween can also be therapeutic. It gives children with Autism an opportunity to practice social skills, and to get out of their comfort zones.