We’re coming up fast on Halloween.
I’m not a horribly huge fan of the holiday – I just think it’s silly and meaningless, really – but it’s one of those things that a lot of children grow up with. In our neighborhood, there’s no celebration of it whatsoever.. but we don’t just live in our neighborhood.
(At work, Halloween is a big deal. It’s our boss’ favorite holiday. We do something there every year and work shuts down for the afternoon to let us bring our kids in.. and yes, the Monster comes with my wife every year, whether he’s quite cognizant of what’s going on or no.)
In the last few years, because Halloween is not celebrated at all in our neighborhood, we’ve taken the Monster elsewhere to go trick-or-treating with our friends’ kids. We’ve never been quite sure what he’s going to do or not do, since the actual trick-or-treating is often after his bedtime, meaning he’s very tired and therefore likely to be only barely behaving enough to make it from door to door for a while.
My wife mentioned seeing a suggestion earlier this week from Pathfinders for Autism (@path_for_autism), to start doing dry-runs for Halloween. Basically, the concept is to be ready for that night’s activities by having your child know the ‘routine’ of the holiday. While our son doesn’t have sensory issues – he’s not stimulation adverse or stimulation seeking, really – we have to admit that we’re concerned about his being able to ‘enjoy’ the holiday like other kids. His normal procedure is to ring a doorbell, wait for the person to open the door… and then go right in. (He does this at home too.) We need to basically train him to ring the bell and go through the steps to get candy, so he’s not just walking into strangers’ homes. I think if we can get him to say trick-or-treat, and take only one candy, we’ll be ahead of the game – I’ll settle for his not exploring.
On one side, it’s probably good for him to learn this kind of thing, since it’s an aspect of socialization that he desperately needs. On the other hand, I’m also considering the hour we’re liable to be doing this at and am, honestly, not sure that it’s going to be a positive experience.
I imagine time will tell.