7 Ideas To Make Halloween Fun and Safe for Children on the Autism Spectrum

Autistic children Halloween ideas

Halloween is a fun and exciting night for many adults and children, but for some children, it can get overwhelming and upsetting easily. Disabled children, including children on the autism spectrum, often struggle with the sensory overload that can come from Halloween festivities, which can completely ruin their enjoyment of the holiday. Whether you have children in your life on the autism spectrum or you’re just hoping to make your home safe for trick-or-treaters, here are seven things to do proactively.

1. Talk to the Children in Your Life About What They Want To Do

If you have children, nieces, nephews, grandkids or other close relatives on the autism spectrum, the first thing to do is to ask for their input. Disabled children are children with their own interests and ideas, and they don’t necessarily want you to decide everything for them. Ask them what they want to do, whether that’s stay inside and do crafts or go out trick-or-treating with their friends. Remember, this is about making them have a great Halloween.

2. Have Many Different Kinds of Candy Available for Trick-Or-Treaters

Many disabled children, especially children on the autism spectrum, have issues with selective eating. That means they may only be able to eat certain types of treats. Try to have a wide variety of candies available, including chocolate candies, allergen-free candies, fruit-flavored candies, and hard candies, so every child gets something they like.

3. Limit Loud Noises and Flashing Lights for Decorations

Halloween is definitely a spooky night, but jumpscares and flashing lights on your decorations can do more harm than good. This is an important element for keeping everyone safe, not just children on the autism spectrum. After all, loud noises and flashing lights can also trigger epilepsy, traumatic flashbacks, and overstimulation in both adults and children. Stick to spooks that don’t rely on loud noises and flashing lights or try a “funny-spooky” decorating style.

4. Respect Every Child’s Boundaries

All children have their own boundaries when it comes to how they want you to treat them, and respecting those boundaries is crucial. If a child requests that a sibling or friend get their treat for them or doesn’t want to show off their costume, respect that they’re setting a boundary. Respecting that boundary could make their Halloween that much more fun.

5. Look for Clues That a Child May Communicate Differently

Not all children communicate verbally. Some children on the autism spectrum, for example, may not be able to talk to you verbally and may use an AAC device or have someone else talk for them. This can also be helpful for children with other disabilities. Deaf children may communicate with sign language, for example. It can be helpful to learn a few Halloween-themed sign language phrases, be patient with children who are using communicative devices, and accept communication from friends and family instead of directly from children.

6. Don’t Discriminate Just Because a Child Isn’t Wearing an Obvious Costume

Some people may feel like it’s fair to only give children candy if they’re wearing a costume. However, consider that a child in a silly sweatshirt may be wearing the only costume they can wear without experiencing sensory issues, or that a child who seems to be wearing “normal clothes” can’t wear other clothes without having a breakdown. Buy enough candy to give to everyone; you don’t necessarily know why they’re not dressed up.

7. Talk to Other Families in Your Neighborhood About Implementing These Options

While you can make some changes all by yourself, you can’t completely change the way your block hosts Halloween without getting some help from your neighbors. Consider using the address search from PeopleFinders to contact your neighbors and ask them to participate in a safer, gentler Halloween this year. Not only can these tips be helpful for children on the autism spectrum, but they can be helpful for everyone.


Halloween can be immensely fun for everyone, including children on the autism spectrum and beyond. Just like anything else, every person you meet will be different, and these tips won’t cover everything you can do for the children in your life who are on the autism spectrum. However, they can help your home be a bit safer for children who need it. Plus, with PeopleFinders, you can get your whole block in on the fun. 

Image Attribution: famveldman – stock.adobe.com

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