Disinterested Halloweener…

The first Halloween was easy.  He was only five months old.  We put him in a little lion costume and took him to the office and to the neighbor’s house and home.  He had no idea what was going on.  A few pictures snapped and he was back at home.   Too hard to determine if there was any interest there yet.

The second Halloween, he wore a Mickey Mouse costume and the Daddy ended up carrying him to a few stores at the local mall.  He began to cry and we carried him out and home.  He was more interested in the little pumpkin used to collect the candy than the candy itself.  Hmmm.  Well, I thought, he’s not even two years old.  That’s okay.

The third Halloween, he chose his costume.  Buzz Lightyear had buttons.  When you pushed them, they lit up.  No question but that he would be Buzz.  Then, he came down with pneumonia just a week before Halloween.  We hemmed and hawed and decided he shouldn’t miss Halloween.  He was recovered and seemingly, well enough.  Again, trick-or-treat at the mall ended in tears after a few stores.  We decided he still was not well enough,  even while pushed trick-or-treating in his stroller.  At age 2.5, just recovered from pneumonia, what did we expect?  He did show some interest in the candy.  Not much though.  Never asked for it after Halloween night.

At 3.5, I was beginning to wonder if we would make it through a “normal” Halloween (yeah, yeah – I know!)  Again, that year, he chose his costume.  A hamburger.  Not a Transformer or a pirate or ghost.  A hamburger.  He’d been watching a cartoon called “Jimmy Neutron”.  In one of his favorite episodes (which required repeat after repeat) Jimmy had to wear a hamburger costume as part of a job. My son thought it was funny and wanted to wear the same.  He did.

That year, we made it through more stores than ever before.  His friend, “B’ though, had long abandoned us for the “big haul”.  My kid was too slow and did not want to go through the doorway of any store he had not been to before.  But little T actually enjoyed Halloween, and played with his Halloween candy.  He dumped it out on the floor and wanted to eat some of it.  He looked at it for a couple of days and was over it.  This was a successful year.

Then came the diagnosis.

Last year, our only Halloween since he was diagnosed with autism, he chose to be a pumpkin.  ABA had just started.  There was one practice session of trick-or-treat and Halloween was upon us.  Half of our mall had been burned to the ground.  We had to go to another outdoor mall nearby.  It was quite warm.  Hundreds of kids were out.  He made it to about 15 stores.

Then, in the middle of a shoe store, he snapped.  He stripped off his costume, screaming, yelling and crying and gave up.  He looked around the store and then planted himself.  The Daddy carried him out to the car and home we went.  Again, consistently, he showed very little interest in his candy.

And here we are again.  He’s showing even less interest in Halloween this year.  When I bring it up, he talks about other things.  He seems to be conveying the message that Halloween is a “job” to be done, much like homework.  He’s willing to do it with little protest but not for the joy of Halloween.  He is willing to do it to please me.  It’s funny.  He has no interest in going trick-or-treating.  He has a costume.  He does not have motivation.  I’m not sure he will participate this year.

Halloween is for strange tales, right?  A kid that does not want to go out and get free candy?  There’s the strangest tale of all…  and it’s true.

It’s a part of how autism creeps into socialization.  Yes, there are crowds and loud noises for everyone.  Most kids don’t notice all this because of their focus on dressing up and getting candy.

My son does focus on the crowds and the noise.  He is not interested in the candy or the dressing up.  He’d rather come home, play with his toys and watch TV. Maybe, he’s got it right…

Well, no matter what happens at my house, 

I’m wishing all of you a Happy and “Interested” Halloween!

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About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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22 Responses to Disinterested Halloweener…

  1. I think T has something there. I found that I enjoyed Halloween lots more when I got to stay home and hand out the candy — it was way better than rushing through the night to gather a pillow case full of candy that I didn’t even really like (remember Clark bars? ewwwww!)

    We’re planning to take Little Miss to a few neighbors tonight — but I have a feeling that she’ll be way more interested in putting candy in and taking it out of the plastic pumpkin she’s got for trick-or-treating. And you know what? that’s just fine with me!

    Happy Halloween to you. And T is just about the cutest pumpkin I have ever seen!

    • solodialogue says:

      Clark bars were eww! Our problem was solved this morning by the appearance of a 100 degree fever. I gave him ibuprofen and the fever went away. Now he has a tummy ache. No trick or treat and I can’t say I missed it – nor did he!

      I never thought about LM and the plastic pumpkin but that is her m.o., isn’t it? 😉 She will be cute no matter what she does!

  2. Grace says:

    My son usually goes on a marathon. He’ll stay out until the sirens start blowing (indicating curfew). It’s supposed to be cold and drizzly here tonight, though, so I don’t know how long we’ll stay out, but I’m sure he won’t come back without a halfway decent haul. My feet hurt just thinking about it.

    However it goes down for you and T, I hope it’s all OK.

    • solodialogue says:

      Well, if you wouldn’t go trick-or-treating in those Jimmy Choos, your feet wouldn’t hurt! 😉

      Your son is a smart young man to get all that free loot! T solved his own problem by developing a fever this morning. I can’t say I’ve even noticed the absence of Halloween. We live so far out in the country we don’t get trick-or-treaters at our door so it’s just another Monday night… which is fine by me!

  3. Teresa says:

    When Matthew was young my husband would do practice runs the days before Halloween visiting our neighbors and grandma. Halloween can be a scary time filled with loud noises, colors and unexpected actions. For many, including some moms, it is not really fun…

    There are no rules to trick or treating. If your son is happy going to three houses and then to grandma or a friend why not? Whatever you choose, only do it while it’s fun and don’t feel guilty.

    • solodialogue says:

      I didn’t think Halloween was fun for everyone. It can be very scary, loud, crowded and confusing! As you may know from my responses, T got a fever and solved his own problem. We’re just content at home! 🙂

  4. Melissa says:

    My daughter is not a Halloween-er either. She likes the activities and decorations… going pumpkin picking (running around a farm), hayrides, bounce houses, scarecrows – now. Trick or treating and costume wearing, not so much. (although I MAY count a butterfly bath towel as a costume very very soon…) We try to keep it as low key as possible, doing it with neighbors that we’ve known forever around our own neighborhood, because she gets enough excitement at school with a Halloween Parade and festivities throughout the week there.

    At some point, if she’s not enjoying it, we’re not going to do it.

    • solodialogue says:

      That’s funny. My son likes the decorations and activities too – like the pumpkin patch but costumes are just too heavy and uncomfortable. Strangely, our school was not having any Halloween activities today but my son missed it anyway since he had a fever. I’m with you though. If they don’t enjoy it, there is no point – and you can stay home and relax (once the doorbell stops!)

      • Melissa says:

        Y’know, I have to tell you, Old Navy is BRILLIANT as far as costumes goes… they basically make fleece hoodies that are designed to look like costume-ish things…. but are actually real clothes… And so the witch costume that she ASKED for? Would.Not.Go.Near. (putting it mildly)… The Bumblebee costume, that was just a jacket? WIN!! Wore it all day. Hope it still fits next year.

      • solodialogue says:

        Yay! Old Navy will be on my list next year! 😉

  5. Lana Rush says:

    Lily could honestly care less about Halloween. And really, it’s my least favorite holiday anyway. So it’s an easy one for me to just release. We usually rustle up some kind of costume, slip it on her, snap a few pictures, take it off, and call it a day.

    And with this crazy diet she’s now on, she won’t be able to have any of the candy, anyway. So tonight will end up being a night like most other nights around our house.

    And that’s fine by me.

    • solodialogue says:

      I didn’t even think of the diet!! My goodness! That’s a good thing that she doesn’t care – much like my son. He doesn’t know that he missed anything at all. Just like you, this has been a regular night around the house, (except for our little guy’s fever) and that’s good with me too!

  6. Our debate about whether or not to trick-or-treat was settled for us- A. has a fever and isn’t feeling great already, so we’re staying in.

    Hope you all have fun whatever you end up doing!

  7. Jen says:

    My son feels the same way about trick or treating. Too much work! So he let his little brother bring him all the candy! I say that’s smart thinking! He did enjoy seeing some kids come to the door tonight and passing out candy. So he does like some parts of Halloween! At least you have really cute pictures of T in his costumes! I love that kid!

    • solodialogue says:

      Now there is a smart brother!! I don’t know exactly how the little bro feels about that though… 😉 That’s cute that he likes to pass out the candy. T would just eat it all! Thanks for the kind words! He did have some cute costume pictures (not that I’m biased or anything!) Hope the little bro got a big haul for both of them!! 🙂

  8. Teresa says:

    Did you love Halloween as a child?

  9. ElizOF says:

    I hope you had a wonderful Halloween Holiday too! I hope also that if he decided to skip it entirely that it was fine with you too… Like him, I’m over that holiday. 🙂 😆

  10. blogginglily says:

    Lily refused to leave the house. Since it was cold and raining. . . she won.

  11. I think of people I’ve known who have gotten into bad relationships, stayed in bad relationships, simply for the sake of being in a relationship….possessed of the idea that any relationship had to be better than none at all, simply because things are “supposed” to be better when you’re in one.

    I think of my MIL, who always put Peeps in her sons’ Easter baskets even though none of them liked Peeps, because when she was young, her siblings always had Peeps in their baskets even though none of THEM liked Peeps either….but, “That’s just how things are done.”

    I think of parents who try to live through their children, pushing their own aspirations over the dreams they might have dreamed, filling their schedules with the activities they themselves had wanted to master, etc. etc….losing track of the fact that who their children are to them, should be secondary to who their children are to themselves.

    I think of things like this, and I think it’s not really such a very different thing, if and when we can’t make our peace with the fact that our special needs children are thriving if they are living the healthiest and happiest possible life that they could want….and that’s not necessarily a life made up of all the same things we wanted for them, when we thought back on our own lives. They are who they are, and that’s the most important thing when it comes to making memories and setting traditions with them. 🙂

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