Monday, October 26, 2015

Keeping Halloween fun for everyone and Mummy Pizzas!

Halloween is a time full of imagination and fun.  It can also be a time of anxiety and sensory overload for some.  I recently read an article written by a Special Ed teacher in PA who also works with children with ADHD and other disabilities and it really put the night into perspective.

HALLOWEEN FACT: Sugary treats do not cause hyperactivity, but the exciting environment of tricking and other holiday experiences may contribute to an increased level of activity

While I'm all about healthy eating and not a huge fan of the overabundance of candy that goes along with Halloween, it makes sense that the over excitement of the night in general is what makes the experience difficult for children.

Jonathan Brush, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, succinctly sums up how many children with ADHD experience Halloween. “When a child has ADHD, we know that there is a tendency towards impulsivity and over activity in the best of circumstances, and this is exacerbated in new and unfamiliar situations. In the case of Halloween, we add the experience of dressing up in costumes, going out at night, seeing other groups of children around the neighborhood. This is a recipe for the child with ADHD to become overwhelmed with stimuli, leading to less self-control and increased overactivity.”

Here are some helpful tips for school and home:

  • Create a social skill story detailing the adventure to foster familiarity.
  • Plan a costume dress rehearsal…beware of sensory and safety costume issues.
  • Take a test run of your treating route…surprises create stress.
  • Preset candy rules… schedule a donation! ( we do the "Switch Witch" at our home. Kids keep 5-10 pieces of candy,depending on size, the rest is left for the Switch Witch who takes the candy and leaves a small, non candy gift. LOVE IT!)
  • Safe Costume = Safe Trick-or-Treating
  • Try to stick to your regular bedtime routine!
  • Fill up on a healthy dinner before treating!
  • Collaborate with teacher & preview school celebration plans!
  • Take calming breaks using hard impact exercises…20 jumping jacks!
  • Schedule daylight trick-or-treating vs. night time.
  • Less is more…fewer houses, more control!
Remember, Trick or Treat is NOT a required activity. If your child really doesn't like it, skip it!  Do something else that's fun as a family. 

Mummy Pizza Recipe

A Halloween tradition in our house is having friends over for dinner before we all head out Trick or Treating.  I always like to fill the kids bellies with something fun and healthy before the onslaught of candy and shenanigans.  It wouldn't be Trick or Treat without Mummy Pizzas

What are some of your Halloween traditions?  What do you do that helps have a fun and safe night for all?

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