It’s Halloween and I am going to get real with you about it. As a Mom of two children with additional needs Halloween is nerve racking. Scratch that, honestly all holidays are a walking time bomb with my children. Before kids, you know those days when you had theories about what your parenting would be like. Ah I miss those days but honestly I was one of those people who didn’t celebrate Halloween. (Your allowed to gasp)
I had every intention of buying my kids candy and watching movies with them on Halloween because of two reasons. One, I am a Christian and Two, thanks to a professor I studied under I believed at the time that if your teaching your children not to talk to strangers why should you allow them to go to strangers houses for candy? Today my kids go trick or treating. What happened to my great pre-parenting theories?
Sensory and Brain overload meltdowns.
Walk into the bank that the tellers are decorated for Halloween with Lilly which lead to a complete sensory meltdown.
Drive down a very decorated street for Halloween which resulted in a 30 minute freak out.
Once I needed to grab dog food and had to go past the Halloween section to get it which resulted to uncontrollable crying.
The first four years of her life it was easy to ignore Halloween. We just stopped taking her around anything Halloween but then one day I realised something, (It was probably when I registered her into a Pre-k program), that I can not protect her from everything. She could one day have a caregiver who totally loves Halloween which could send her brain into an overload. This fact actually gave me nightmares for a while.
That’s when I made the decision to change how we do things. One thing I have read over and over again through out the years is the mother set the tone of her household. I new that I needed to take lead on this one.
Start Small Our first Halloween three years ago we paired up with Lilly’s best friends family and went trick or treating. It was a fun night and we made sure to skip houses that could scare the kids.
It’s A Two Man Job If The Hubby is working I make sure I have a back up person to help me out. If one child has a sensory meltdown I have back up to help me out with both children. Their is a lot of strangers walking around on Halloween by having a couple familiar faces it brings them comfort.
Talk About It We have been talking about Halloween for weeks now. The great thing is A-man is at the age that he gets excited for things and it rubs off on Lilly. As A-man is counting down to Halloween it help prepares Lilly for the day.
Costumes A Head Of Time I buy the costumes a head of time and we start wearing them up to two weeks before Halloween. It help preps her for the night of. The rule in our house is they always have to be “non-scary” costumes because Lilly struggles with those.
Halloween Day I set the tone right away by getting dressed in my costume and I wear it all day. I started doing this two years ago and I find this as a helpful a routine that preps Lilly for the whole day. Some years we are able to go trick or treating but thanks to a Canadian Halloween (aka snow) this year we will be staying in. I always have a special meal planned, movies, snack and crafts planned for Halloween night. By doing this it is creating happy memories in Lilly’s Halloween memory bank for future years.
For the first time in my daughter’s life I sent her to school today excited for Halloween. As she went into her class the costumes of fallow classmates didn’t scare her. The decorations of houses didn’t scare her and this is how I know the Sensory Therapy is working. If your a Momma in slimier shoes as I was once in it does get easier with time.