Happy Halloween to you all today! I absolutely love this holiday because it gives my creative side a little boost to be able to think about a costume. I got wacky this year and made my own costume (which NEVER happens!). But, after spending $30 on Liam's costume, the purse strings were a little tight. I mean, that is the downside of Halloween. The older they get, the more the costumes cost. I haven't broken the news to Liam that he is right on the cusp of being too old for Halloween. I'll let you know how that convo goes later!
So, I'm curious to know how YOU have survived Halloween in the past? I know with kids who are NOT autistic, Halloween can be a hellacious time of pre-diabetic sugar rushes, costume meltdowns, and anxiety. So...how does your little one handle it?
I don't know how we have managed to come out relatively unscathed with Halloween. I think the biggest issue has been more about the costume than it has been about doing the actual trick-or-treating. I am always grumpy about spending a ton on a costume that will be worn only once. (a little of my daddy comin' out on that one) So, of course, Liam will try to pick out the costume that has a lot of bells and whistles or requires an oxygen mask to wear it. I have learned that I have to give him a number of what I am willing to spend BEFORE we get to the store. Sometimes concessions are made, but for the most part, I try to stick to the plan.
This year was a bit different. He began saying in August that he wanted to be a storm trooper for Halloween. I was like, "yea, how hard can that be? They have those available every year."
Well, apparently they do not, and certainly not when you wait until the last minute, which of course is the Saturday before Halloween being the following Wednesday! Which, for this girl, who does not like to plan anything in advance, that is a ton of time!
(retailers are mocking my words right now)
We did not find the storm trooper in his size, but I was able to convince him that the other star wars character was AMAZING! And, when he saw the mask, he agreed. But, when he got home and realized that just because something is pictured on the outside of the costume package, this does not ensure that it will be actually IN the package, he was less than thrilled about that one.
When everything is literal to these guys, you cannot expect to put an awesome-looking gun on the outside and not expect a downright riot when the accessory is not included.
This was when, in one of my more brilliant moments, I explained to him that the gun was indeed included in the costume, it was just painted on the forearm. He bought it, and the crisis was averted.
The other thing I have found helpful is to have some sort of plan of action for the actual houses you will hit up on Halloween. The nice thing about Liam is that at one point in time (I cannot remember when) I told him that he would only have to go to 10 houses for trick-or-treating. He has stuck with that plan for some time now. Ten houses. That's it.
Sometimes I feel jipped. I'm thinking, you have a costume, and you don't have ANY of the candy I like to eat, so let's get this party started!! But, once we've hit ten, he's done. And, that's okay too because it's usually freezing anyway.
But, back to having a plan. Remember I am a 'P' on the Myers-Briggs. And not just a moderate P, I am full-blown Perceiver. Like it feels like torture to have a plan. I like to see how I feel in the very moment we are doing something. SO, you can imagine all the ways I have had to concede in my life. If there's no plan, somebody's gonna blow their top!
Many times this just ends up being me grabbing a notebook a little bit before we go out and drawing him a map of the street where we will be going. Obviously I don't know all the houses that will actually be participating in Halloween, (or the ones with good candy :) but even just making it look like I have a plan makes it better than winging it.
We have learned to avoid the jokester dad who dresses up like Jason every year and thinks it's cool to stare down the toddlers who are innocently walking by. Jeez! Some people! He is obviously living out some childhood fantasy that his mother never let him take a part of. (and for good reason)
I have also learned to give up what my expectations are! Oh isn't this the life of a parent with an autistic child!! We have to temper the things that we wanted our children to experience. And, many times, this becomes the source of grief- which, is more about us than it is about them. Sometimes, it might be just okay if they stay at home. Maybe they want to open the door for the neighbor's kids. Maybe they don't. Maybe they just want to sit and play the video games they have been playing for years. This is tough. Because sometimes you just want them to do what everyone else is doing.
And this is a crossroads. Will I let their lack of interest affect the way I enjoy the holiday? It's okay to be upset and disappointed. And, maybe this is the one night of the year that you make a grocery store run to get a bag of Reese's- for yourself!
Try to be kind to yourself and your child, adjust those expectations, and enjoy that bag of candy like it was the last bag of Reese's on earth. And, then, you can laugh at all the parents who are freezing who wish they had their own stash of Reese's!