Trick or Treating with Autism 


Autism can make the simplest things…less simple. And trick or treating is no exception.  Last year we were still new to the area so we let the kids dress up and run around the backyard. They took turns ringing our own doorbell as I gave them candy. It was simple it was safe and most importantly Wild Man was able to just be himself.  This year however, the kids wanted to venture out and gather candy like we had back in my hometown before we moved.  I knew this would be a challenge even with help from my husband.

The last few days leading up to tonight’s outing we went over The trick or treating rules.  Basic things like: staying with mom and dad, no running off, saying please and thank you, and being respectful to all those around us.  Down here they do not trick or treat like back home.  There hundreds of candy hungry kids flood the subdivisions in search of the perfect sweets.  Here it’s not about going house to house but more of the local churches doing what is called trunk or treat. We decided to go to a church close to our home so the kids could make their big candy score.  

The trunk or treat was suppose to be from 6 to 8.  The church had hot dogs and other food for people to eat and they had games set up where kids could play and earn candy.  Which for most kids would be fine and I’m sure everyone that attended had a fantastic time…everyone except our Wild Man.   We arrived right around 6 (it was still daylight so Wild Man was okay with being outside) We signed the kids in and were told we could get something to eat.  If you have ever been trick or treat with young ones then you know the last thing on their little minds was eating actual food they want candy and nothing but candy.  We passed the food station and walked through the game stations over to where the trunk or treat was suppose to take place. The problem….they were not ready for the kids.  We were told we could play some games while they set up.  Wild man was getting anxious but we tried to play a few games.  He didn’t understand why he could not just get the candy from the bowls. Why me play game momma? Why????? We tried for about 20 minutes before he got extremely upset.  We walked back over to where the trunk or treat was to take place. It was still not ready.  I looked at my husband while trying to keep ahold of Wild mans hand and made the call to head back home.  Our other little loves were not thrilled we were leaving. Having a sibling on the spectrum is difficult on them sometimes.  They know he has limits but their kids and sometimes they just want to be able to do what other kids do.  As we walked back home we saw a few of our neighbors lights on. I look at my husband and he knew what I was thinking and he shrugged sure why not?  

In our large subdivision we walked along with our five little loves.  Out of all the houses in our subdivision we found four that were passing out candy. Four.  But four was enough.  At the first house Wild Man asked the lady’s name and then told her he was moving in with her. She was sweet and laughed it off.  At the second house they passed out suckers and Whopper candy. Wild man loves both so he was okay there. Third house he tried to take more than a few pieces and when the gentleman said Oh only a few big guy, he started screaming and tried to step on the mans foot. By the fourth house he was done and when they opened the door he ran in. (When he’s done he’s done. He saw their TV on and wanted to watch) The gentleman at the door caught him and was very kind about the situation.  As we went walked down the neighbors front porch steps I said it was time to go home.  That’s when Elmo and Diva started fussing. It’s not fair.  We hardly have any candy.  Why do we always have to stop when he gets upset? As we walked up our driveway they both stomped as loud as their little feet possibly could.  

I am use to things not working out as we plan.  So as they fussed I went to the kitchen and pulled out Plan B aka backup candy.  I had the kids open up their bags and I filled them with their favorite sweets. Smiles finally covered their faces as they settled in with their candy to watch a Halloween special before bed. They were happy and Wild Man was safe and comfort in his own home so he was happy. I hate to say it but as an autism mom I always have a backup plan. You have to have a backup plan.

It’s not fair, I get it. It’s hard on them, him and us. All I want is a normal life for all my kiddos. Some days we get through without any major upsets other days it’s meldown after meltdown.  All we can do is take it day by day (and always have backup candy just in case we need it) Our normal is different from most. And I’m okay with that. 

Even though we did not get to go to many houses or play all the church games we did get out as a family. We did manage to get out of the house for a little while and he did have fun. And he was able to wear his mask for awhile. (Huge win) We could set and dwell over all the things that went wrong or we can celebrate the small victories.  We will celebrate and eat candy I bought. 

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