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I’m not sure what I dread about Halloween more: trick-or-treating in what always seems to be sub-zero temperatures with rain and sometimes snow? Sorting through the candy and explaining over and over why she can’t eat it because she’s gluten and dairy free? The over-stimulation? The costume choice, which inevitably is a character that companies only make in little kid sizes?
Ah yes, the joys of Halloween
Experts don’t know everything
Trick or treating with a child who is autistic and has an intellectually disability is a challenge. Many years I’ve thought about staying home – but she loves to go, and has a younger sibling who also loves to trick-or-treat. She deserves to enjoy Halloween like everybody else.
I’ve followed the experts’ recommendations on how to be successful: In the weeks ahead we practice what to say, talk about what Halloween is, and what’s expected when going door-to-door. Despite all the preparation, oftentimes we’d greet households with, “Candy pleeeeeasssse,” a big hug, or my personal nightmare: dashing into a stranger’s home.
Today we are at a point where my kiddo now yells “Trick or treat!” with all of the other kids. She (mostly) doesn’t get upset when I offer alternate treats that are gluten/dairy free in exchange for her candy. (It helps that there’s a local group who coordinates sending leftover candy to armed services members overseas). Safety awareness has improved to the point that she’s not dashing away, or into a stranger’s home anymore. (So yes, fellow special needs parents – it does get better!)
All about candy and sweet treats
It seems that there are so many food related activities – at school, religion class, girl scouts, and more. I’m forever trying to decide what to pack or bring as a snack that’s gluten and dairy free. Over the years, I’ve come up with a couple of easy and fun allergy-free Halloween snack ideas that don’t take too much time!
Costume choices can be challenging as kids get older
Costume choice is challenging, particularly when she falls in love with a character that younger kids like. It’s rare to find them in her size. Additionally, this year we have the added complexity of wearing a bulky scoliosis brace. So, as with so much in our life, we improvise.
Can’t find a costume, DIY!
This year she wants to be Poppy from the Trolls movie, something that trends with smaller kids. With this in mind, I’ve created something that is Poppy-esque, inexpensive and reusable. I started with this great tutorial from the How to Mom, using a headband, pink tulle, some foam flowers from the dollar store and my hot glue gun.
Paring a long sleeved pink tee shirt with a tutu that matches Poppy’s color scheme topped with Poppy hair. BOOM, we have a costume! Not to mention we’ll use leggings (we already have) under the tutu, and can wear the pink tee again.
Now all I need to do is put on my hat, gloves and a smile. Happy Halloween!
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