Halloween can often have an adverse effect on children with autism. The scary masks, loud sounds, erratic lights, and having to speak to strangers may be very hard for many. Through the years, our family has enjoyed celebrating the holiday in various spots around the U.S If you’d like to try a different way to celebrate with your kids this year here are some of our favorite Autism Friendly Halloween spots.
Howl-O-Ween- Great Wolf Lodge
The Wolf Lodge is a hotel chain featuring an indoor water park with 12 different locations, throughout the United States. When it comes to Halloween though, the Great Wolf Lodge pulls out all the stops. They have trick or treat trails, costume parades, story times, and even a dance party. What I like, is parents can gauge the different activities being offered and pick the best ones for their kids who have autism.
John Carver Inn & Spa- Plymouth, MA
The John Carver Inn & Spa in Plymouth MA tries to capture all the Halloween and Fall spirit. While Plymouth is known for its haunted history, it still has activities that are kid and autism-friendly. Guests staying at the property can get tickets to visit a nearby 6-acre corn maize trail, a “Grain-Train” trail ride, pumpkin picking, face painting, duck races, and live music. What we appreciated about this location most, is that you can go back to the room to regroup if your kid becomes overstimulated,
Legoland, Carlsbad CA
On selected weekends during October, the park offers their own Brick or Treat Halloween themed activities in the evenings. Aside from Live entertainment, treat stations, AstroBash Party and character meet and greet opportunities, guests can partake in costume contests. Your kid can get to come as his or her favorite Lego character!
Plus, don’t miss candy, decorations and your fishy friends at SEA LIFE® Aquarium included with your Party Nights ticket.
Haunted Happenings- Salem, MA
Haunted Happenings in Salem MA is not just a one-night event. They offer many different activities throughout the entire month of October. Starting October 4th, families can experience everything from mild street markets to super scary haunted events. The historic spot is an excellent place to learn US history along with celebrating Halloween.
Guilds Haunted Wicked Woods- Indianapolis, IN
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is in its 55th year of putting on a spectacular Halloween event. Last year they had 15 different rooms for kids to explore, throughout their adventures. My favorite part is they have two different levels of scary. The lights on experience for kids who may scare easily, and the scarier lights off option. Having options for families makes the Wicked Woods an excellent choice for families to consider as one of the best autism-friendly Halloween spots.
The Counts Halloween Spooktacular- Sesame Place- Langhorne, PA
Sesame Place® is the quintessential autism-friendly place to take kids with autism. The park has recently partnered with The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) and became a designated Certified Autism Center (CAC). They have quiet rooms, noise canceling headphones and even special spots reserved to watch the parades. So, naturally, The Counts Halloween Spooktacular in Langhorne, PA should be on your list of Halloween getaways. Dancing, parades, trick or treating in costumes, and a pumpkin jump are just a few activities that families can enjoy.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween- Orlando, FL
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween in Orlando, FL could be one of the most Autism friendly Halloween spots that families can enjoy. Kids can dress up in their costumes, trick or treat and enjoy Mickey Mouse and all of his friends. Children can enjoy the dance parties or even visit the Sanderson sisters from Hocus Pocus and watch their show. Topping it all is the “Happy HalloWishes Fireworks” spectacular featuring all the favorite villain songs. .Keep in mind, this is a Disney event, so the scare factor is going to be kept to a minimum, making it perfect for families with autism.
Knotts Spooky Farm- Buena Park, CA
Knotts Berry Farm in sunny Buena Park, CA does not disappoint on the Halloween festivities either. Between their everyday activities and their kid-friendly Halloween activities, families are sure to be satisfied with their choice of being here. The park offers its spooky events every year where families can enjoy the park decorations and even watch Snoopy and his friends in costume.
SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular- Orlando, FL
Last, is SeaWorld Orlando. What could be more fun than learning about sea life and trick or treating at the same time? From a mom point of view, this is a win-win situation. At SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular, families can bring their reusable trick or treating bag, or purchase one there for a minimal price. Not to be missed is the Pet’s Ahoy Halloween Show, staring their rescue animals that is always our personal highlight.
Boo at the Zoo- local participating zoos
If traveling is not in the plans this year, you may have hit the jackpot if your local zoo participates in the Boo at the Zoo. Kids are welcome to dress up and trick or treat around the zoo. Many of the zoos host costume contests, corn mazes, live music. Some even have storybook characters walking around. If you are interested in these events, you should make sure to check out your local zoos and see which ones are participating.
Halloween does not have to be a scary event, especially to those with autism. All it takes is some planning ahead, and some willingness to think outside of the box. Overall, Halloween can be fun for every family wanting to celebrate the festivities.
Have you been to any of these autism-friendly Halloween spots? If so, which ones are your favorite?