Halloween can cause major chaos in the ADHD household. Between disruption of routines, excess sugar, and sensory challenges, it is a lot to process. Here are some ideas for ADHD friendly fun without the sugar chaos.
Alternative “class” treats
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Even though we homeschool, the girls participate heavily in gymnastics and ballet classes. If the other kids are bringing Halloween treats, of course they want to participate. Often buying bulk for a class results in extras in your home. While the girls are going to bring home treats from classmates, I prefer not to add to what’s in the house. Impulse control is extra hard with ADHD!
Admittedly making non sugary treats is more work than just buying a bag of candy. But the girls enjoy participating in approving and making fun treats for classmates. This pack of glow sticks was inexpensive, and worked for all of their classes, plus had plenty for one of the team gifts for competition. Another fun option could be this glow in the dark slime. Check out my second post on team gifts for competition for even more ideas that could double for Halloween treats. Fidgets are great for ADHD kiddos, and popular with others too!
You can still participate in trick or treating!
We typically have participated in an indoor fall festival hosted by a church or school for Halloween for safety and weather. There has typically still been lots of candy handed out for playing games, participating in activities, etc. Or the trunk or treat activities are packed with candy too. So what then? Most of the activities that the kiddos can have fun showing off costumes involve candy too. My goal has always been to not be too restrictive. If kids feel like they’re missing out, there tends to be rebellion and sneaking around at some point. So instead, I try to educate, and make healthy choices attractive.
One way to make limiting the sugar chaos an appealing option is introducing something like the “switch witch” that I have heard about. The kiddos get to choose a few pieces of candy the night of Halloween, then set the rest out to be swapped overnight with an attractive gadget or toy. The concept is similar to the tooth fairy swapping the lost tooth for money or a gift. The candy can be donated some places, or some feel it may be best trashed.
Have fun with the costume
For some, half the fun of trick or treating is showing off the costume. So harness your kiddos creativity that often comes with ADHD. Make it a family affair if they enjoy everyone participating. We’ve had so much fun doing family costumes for many years.
Even better, as a homeschooler I am always looking for natural learning opportunities. Can creating a costume teach a possible crafting skill that could result in a business for side income? My cricut has been one of my favorite investments for this! Is there something historical about a costume choice? Be mindful when choosing a costume that ADHD can be accompanied by some sensory challenges.
Why does it matter?
Read here about the effect of diet, particularly sugar consumption on ADHD. Most people are familiar with the link between diabetes and excessive long term sugar intake. However excessive sugar intake can impact much more, including our immune response going into the height of cold and flu season. All of this is worth it to me to take a little extra effort to minimize the negative impact of the holidays on our family.
Help for if the sugar consumption got out of hand
Sleep can be challenging with ADHD. Add excess sugar, and possibly sensory overload and the whole family could be in for a rough night. Check out my post here for general sleep help with ADHD.