We Skipped Trick-or-Treating This Year, And That’s Okay
Halloween has always been one of my favorite days of the year. I live for month-long horror movie binges, Halloween parties, pumpkin carving, haunted houses—all of it. I have so many fond memories of trick-or-treating with friends as a kid, and I had always pictured trick or treating with my own children every year (or at least until they hit the age when I'm no longer invited).
Up until this year we always took Micah trick-or-treating, because it's just what you do. On his first Halloween he was 3-months-old, so we only stopped by a few houses and then spent the rest of the evening handing out candy with our in-laws. It was a great night. Year 2 was similar, except the night ended with a screaming fit. Still completely worth it, though. Last year we made it to 2 houses, and one of them was his grandparents' house, where we started. He didn't understand what was going on and he hated it. By house number 3, he was in the grass screaming and crying, and we decided "tradition" was absolutely not worth the stress (especially when I was about a week away from giving birth to Luca). This was before Micah was diagnosed with autism, so we really didn't know what we were doing incorrectly.
I knew this year we would need to make a change, but I just wasn't exactly sure what that change would be.
I started talking about Halloween to Micah in September. We read books (see our favorites at the bottom of the page), watched Halloween-themed episodes of his favorite shows, and talked about dressing up for trick-or-treating. We had planned to attend a family party so Micah could get ready and go out with his cousins (and us, of course). He picked out his costume (Marshall, from Paw Patrol), and when it arrived, he found it absolutely horrifying. He would not allow it within 3 feet of his body. I wasn't worried about the costume; he would wear it or he wouldn't, and it was not a hill on which I was prepared to die. That did lead me to contact his amazing preschool teacher, and she came up with ideas to teach him more about trick-or-treating in school. We also agreed that if it isn't fun, it isn't worth pushing, and even if he stops after the first house, the night was a success.
My odds on us breaking our record from last year were about 50/50. They dropped pretty dramatically the night before Halloween, when Luca threw up a few times in the middle of the night. Although he seemed fine in the morning, and it was probably just related to a lingering cough, we decided that it would be better for me to keep him home. The odds dropped again when Micah came home from preschool quite cranky. He was having an extremely difficult time keeping his hands to himself, which is a sensory issue Micah deals with frequently. Babies are especially triggering to him, because he can't seem to resist squeezing their wonderfully squishy arms. While he usually doesn't seem to have bad intentions when he does this, we obviously still can't allow him to pinch his brother. I do have some go-to sensory activities to help Micah when he is struggling (more on that in my next post), but they just weren't working that day.
In the end, Jared and I decided that staying home and having our own Halloween fun would best for Micah. A party would almost certainly have put him in sensory overload, and if he isn't having fun, what's the point? We watched Hocus Pocus, ate Reese's Pumpkins, read Halloween books, and made Micah a ghost costume. Was it exactly the evening we had in mind? Nope! And we're okay with that.
Do you have to make some adjustments for your child on Halloween? Tell us what you do!
Also, if you're interested in our favorite Halloween books, please follow the links below!