Trick or Treat – Helping your child prepare for the night – A teli speech and language pathologist’s suggestions on helping your child get ready for the spooky, the scary, as well as the fun!
Preparing your Child for Trick or Treat
by Kristen Lang, Speech and Language Pathologist
Halloween night can be exciting, scary, and even overwhelming for children! It would be very beneficial to talk about what to expect a few days or even weeks before you head out to trick or treat! Add some Halloween books to the fun of getting ready. “It’s Halloween Night!” by Jennifer O’Connel is a fun book that you can read with your child.
Trick-or-Treating includes picking a costume, discussing safety rules and also learning the social vocabulary that is used.
Selecting a Costume
If your child is just learning to speak, you might want to pick a costume name that he already knows how to say. (e.g. If he loves Paw Patrol and can say the character name “Chase” ). You can practice having your child say his costume name and prepare him for the question “and what are you dressed as?” If your child cannot yet talk or is very shy, you may give him a card that has his costume name already written on it. Or put a sticker on his shirt with his costume name written on it (e.g. Hello my name is Batman). This can help take off some of the pressure of feeling the need to speak.
Be sure to review the rules with your child so that he is not hearing them for the first time on your night out. These can include safety rules (e.g. hold mommy’s hand, look both ways before crossing the street, stop), and general trick-or-treat rules (e.g. first knock on the door, then get candy). Keep the directions clear and concise. You can create a simple story that incorporates the step-by-step directions. There are also “scripted stories” or social stories that are pre-written on various websites.
Remember your “Please” and “Thank you”!
Finally, a big part of trick-or-treating involves social etiquette. Parents can practice using these social words with their child at home. Teach your child words and phrases such as “trick-or-treat”, “please” and “thank you.” You can teach your child to wave hello or good bye if they are not yet talking. If your child uses a communication device it would be a good idea to add these phrases before you go trick-or-treating!