Saturday, October 5, 2013

Autism Answer: Spend Money for Halloween? No Thanks!

I am the mother of four boys. They are all teenagers now, but when they were small we rarely spent money on Halloween. We had a heck of a lot of fun, but spent no real amount of money. Here's how we did it!

FOR COSTUMES: We always had so much fun going through closets and our dress-up bin! Using our imaginations we would take clothes we already owned and invent characters (once my son was a pushy business man, another time my other son was Prince Charming dressed in civilian clothes, and yet another I used white pants, white shirt and toilet paper to create a ghost etc) and use markers for makeup or found Halloween makeup kits for a dollar. Other moms could likely use their own vanity bags. I just happen not to own any make-up myself. Also, we've always had a few costumes that one of us had bought at thrift stores and clearance bins during the off season. My boys have always loved dress-up, regardless of the season! So Yugioh and Power Rangers and Ninja outfits could always be invented as well.

FOR CANDY: This isn't applicable to us because our home is deep in the woods, we never have trick-or-treaters! It's too scary out here for even the bravest Ninja Turtle!!

FOR DECORATIONS: I always used the stuff my boys made at school, and then--again!--we would use our imaginations to turn stuff from around the house into something spooky. We used a black dress, fallen branches and a stuffed animal to make a scary monster one year. I think the pumpkin was the only thing I ever actually spent money on! It doesn't hurt that our house is spooky already, hiding deep in the woods, wild and unmanicured!

THE ATTITUDE: When handling Halloween I would focus most on the fun and take advantage of the yearly social skills teaching! Two of my sons had autism symptoms, including a need for social practice. For one son there was teaching him how to ask only one or two questions at each door, and to try and keep the questions on topic. My younger son had to be encouraged to walk up and willingly meet a new person and practice eye contact... all with the immediate reward of candy! And, of course, all four of my boys had the yearly opportunity to meet neighbors and learn how to handle a sugar high!

With the focus being on all of the fun learning opportunities, spending money was easier to avoid.

At least, it was for me!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

~I wrote this in answer to a reporter's query about saving money at Halloween and thought it would be fun to share here with my fabulous friends!! Hugs!!!~

My oldest son getting a marker made mustache!
At every house he'd be asked,"Who are you supposed to be?"
He had all kinds of fun answers! A homeless man. A retired plumber.
A cowboy who lost his hat... it was fun!!