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Virtual Event Offers Sensory-Friendly Halloween Celebration for Autistic Children

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The Story: An online event for children on the autism spectrum and sensory sensitivities will offer a safe and welcoming place to celebrate Halloween this year. The nonprofit KFM Making A Difference is hosting the party for children on Oct. 31 that will include several virtual games and activities for the little ones like bingo, a scavenger hunt and pumpkin carving. Tickets are $5 but according to the organization, everyone will be refunded at the end of the event. Music will be kept to a low volume and closed captioning will also be available. The announcement of the event comes as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic prompts the CDC to discourage in-person trick-or-treating events this year.

The Frontlines: Halloween can be overwhelming for children on the autism spectrum and those with other sensory sensitivities. However, increasing awareness for neurodivergent children is making the holiday more enjoyable for everyone.

  • Experts say planning indoor or daytime Halloween activities can be helpful for those who are afraid of going out at night.
  • According to The Autism Community in Action, if you do decide to go to an in-person gathering, finding a quiet room to relax is important for a child to find peace if the gathering gets overwhelming.
  • They also recommend trying on costumes ahead of time and ditching anything that makes the child feel uncomfortable. Watch out for accessories and props that may cause sensory overload.
  • Ultimately, experts say it’s important to follow the child’s lead when it comes to celebrating the spooky holiday.

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A Mighty Voice: Our contributor, Shawna Wingert, shared how she makes Halloween enjoyable for her child. “For the past two years, we have allowed him to participate as much or as little as he wants. This has meant no real costume and not really leaving the house. (Last year, he really, really wanted to go. He tried — twice –and then melted down. We ended up making homemade macaroni and cheese while my husband took his brother to treat-or-treat. My son was sad, but then his brother returned and shared all his candy, so all was well.) He announced this year that he is ‘too old to dress up anyway,’ and he wants to be the one handing out the candy as kids come to the door.” You can submit your first person story, too.

From Our Community:


Other things to know: Here’s what other Mighty contributors are saying about celebrating Halloween when you’re on the spectrum:

How to take action: You can learn more about KFM Making A Difference’s Halloween event here as well as more tips on celebrating the holiday for parents with autistic children here.

Header image via teddyandmia/Getty Images

Originally published: October 16, 2020
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