Tricky Trick or Treats

Halloween is just around the corner. This is a challenging holiday for us, as son H., has autism, and the process of trying to break the Halloween concept down into its component parts, and describe it in language that he might understand, poses some difficulties.

“You dress up in a strange clothes, and you knock on the neighbor’s door. When she answers you say some nonsense words and then she gives you candy.” 

It makes me realize how absurd the whole thing is. The only take-away lesson for H. may be one that he already has down pat: candy is good.

The costume issue is also a tough one. H. is six and is the size of an eight-year old, but he watches none of the cartoons or movies that typical kids his age might watch. Transformers? Nope. Spider Man? Uh-uh. Harry Potter, Star Trek, Wolverine, Power Ranger? No, no, no, no. The costumes that he does understand, like animals or bugs, are all sized too small. Real-world costumes for older kids? The all-powerful licensed-character lobby prohibits them.

Last year I made him a costume: by hand, no sewing. But I did purchase, and learn to use, a glue gun. I am not at all a craft-y person. My art skills end at coloring inside the lines. But costume we needed, and costume it would be.

I bought a plain, grey cotton sweatshirt and pants and some brown fuzzy fabric, from which I cut out shapes for spots. I attached some painstakingly-designed floppy ears to a girls’ headband. I glue-gunned it all together – and only burned myself twice.

Eh voila! Perfect puppy.

At least I thought so, until H. got on the bus first thing on Halloween morning, dressed in his costume for the school party, and the bus driver said, “Is he a giraffe?”

Still licking my wounds from last year, I’ve turned over the costume issue to husband J. Good luck, honey – I’ll keep the glue gun nuclear for you.


About Becca

Becca was born and raised in North Dakota (the nation's forehead), and  now lives in a small town in Minnesota (the nation's right shoulder) with her two children (son "H.", b.2003, who has autism, and daughter "F.", b. 2008), and her husband, "J."  She attended both North Dakota State University (where she studied sociology), and the University of Minnesota, where she came perilously close to earning a degree in English with a minor in history. She is a writer, stay-at-home-special-needs-mom, and small business owner. Becca can also be found at:

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