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Halloween: How Being Kind is Always the Answer


Halloween

Halloween is filled with excitement and magic. My kids picked out their costumes early this year, their hearts set on what they wanted to be. This year will be featuring Kermit the Frog, Bat Girl, and a Vampire at my house.


As I was reflecting on years prior, Halloween is a holiday that brings up mixed emotions. Although my kids are always thrilled to get their hands on candy and treats, it can be an overwhelming experience. Between the decorations, crowds of kids trick or treating, and the expectations of dressing up and visiting houses to ask for candy, it can be sensory overload.


I vividly remember taking my three young children out trick or treating a few years after moving into a new neighborhood. It was the first year I agreed to venture past our street as the kids had hopes of filling up their bags with candy.


We were slowly getting into a rhythm, the older two kids running ahead and ringing the doorbell, while I came up behind with our youngest daughter. We came to a new house and the older ones pressed the doorbell, called out, “trick or treat”, and were greeted with candy. My daughter and I came up behind them and I said, “trick or treat” while holding my daughter’s hand. The gentleman at the door, not knowing us, said, “Hi. Would you like some candy?” while looking into my daughter’s eyes. “You can say trick or treat and I will give you some candy.”


He continued to prompt her as his wife walked up behind him. She looked into my eyes, and saw tears forming, as I was struggling to tell him that she wasn’t able to use her words yet. She gave me a reassuring smile and placed a handful of candy into my daughter’s bag.


I went home that night and cried. Not because the gentleman was trying to upset me or not being understanding, but because I was starting to see the challenges that my daughter may face in a world that has societal expectations that she may not be able to live up to. Being autistic and minimally verbal meant my daughter will take years longer than her peers to form language and she will need to use adaptive technology to support her into adulthood.


During those years with toddlers and young children, I often struggled with navigating as a parent in a world that wasn’t built for my children. As my kids have grown and I have adapted, I have learned to prepare for these experiences. This year, my daughter will be bringing her IPad with her communication software on it programmed to say, “Trick or Treat”. I will stick to only the houses in my neighborhood, as they know my family and kiddo. And if my child chooses not to wear her costume, that’s fine too. I am learning to let it go and just roll with what comes my way. I am also learning that we as adults have a responsibility to show kindness to those that come to our door, as we don't know what their lived experience is. At my house during Halloween, our policy is, if you ask for candy, you get it. No questions asked. We don't care if you have a costume or if you are a teenager, we welcome you and share in this day with you.


Honestly, I am just excited that I still have one child that isn’t embarrassed to be seen with me trick or treating!


My hope for you this Halloween is that you experience kindness in your trick or treating adventures and are able to extend that kindness to everyone that knocks on your door this year.

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