Saturday, November 5, 2011

Little Guy's Halloween

Life with a child on the spectrum is like a box of never know what you're going to get.

And I just wasn't quite sure what to expect from Little Guy this year.

Halloween can be overwhelming for a child with sensory issues; itchy costumes, loud noises, bright colors - you get the picture. Added to these possible setbacks were Halloween celebrations spread out over three different days.

I worried it might be too much for my son.

He really wanted to dress up as Aang, the avatar airbender. My husband brought home a great children's outfit from China last spring, and we buzzed Little Guy's hair really short. We added a staff and painted on a blue arrow, and here's what he looked like:

FYI - he's not angry; he's trying to be in character :)

Thursday was our preschool's Halloween party. Little Guy held it together for the first half before his tolerance started to fray. By the time trunk-or-treat rolled around, he'd pretty much had it (tears, angry outbursts, etc.) I just kept him near me and we managed to get through. After the kids had left and the noise/activity level died down, Little Guy was much calmer and able to enjoy his bag of goodies.

On Saturday, there was an outdoor neighborhood dinner:

I wasn't as concerned about Little Guy going into this party because:
1) It was held outside, making the crowd and noise level more bearable
2) The party was only a half block away from our house, which meant I could easily take Little Guy home if necessary.

As it was, Little Guy found a pack of boys to roam with for the first part. After he tired of that, he wandered to a neighbor's house to check out the newly completed waterfall feature. He'd been over to this house several times before while "supervising" the progress, and our neighbor had even let him "work" on it. Little Guy was so excited to see the waterfall working that he spent the rest of the evening watching it run.

One thing I failed to mention is that Little Guy would not dress up as Aang for the neighborhood party. I begged, cajoled, and pleaded - but he absolutely refused to do it. When I pressed Little Guy about his reluctance, he told me he didn't want the paint on his head because it was too itchy. So, we went with last year's Spiderman costume.

Sensory issues...our daily nemesis :)

Fast forward a couple of days to Halloween night. Sis wanted to take Little Guy trick-or-treating around our street, and really wanted him to go as Aang. Little Guy finally agreed:

The deal was Sis and her boyfriend also had to have arrows painted on them; Little Guy even painted Sis's all by himself (sorry - no picture).

They were out for about 40 minutes, then Sis had to get ready for work. I gave Little Guy dinner and let him pass out candy for a bit, then he and I headed farther down into the neighborhood. We had a good time; the weather was perfect, and Little Guy was old enough to have greater stamina this year (I know we walked over a mile). The only issues we had were at the doors. Little Guy would ring once, then continue knocking until the door was answered. He would head straight for the candy without a word, only saying "trick-or-treat" if I prompted him. Sometimes, he would even step inside the house if he thought the person wasn't fast enough. And don't even get me started about eye contact. Needless to say, we had PLENTY of opportunities to practice his social skills :)

Although Little Guy struggled a bit with what to do at the doors, we were able to spend over an hour trick-or-treating without any major meltdowns. THIS WAS HUGE! Although life is still a roller coaster with our young son, I'm glad for times like this where we can savor "normal" moments.

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