Well it’s really a relief to say that this year went much better!
Sam has really been excited about the aspects of Halloween that we have tried to emphasize this year. Things like pumpkins, autumn, harvest, going to the pumpkin patch, wearing a costume, and going trick-or-treating.
This has been a month-long process which means that it has been exhausting! We worked tirelessly to communicate with Sam and to give him the tools and confidence to communicate with us on things like:
- Merchandising: scary places in stores (asking if he can walk past them and not look, or if he wants to walk around them – or completely avoid them)
- Scary houses: whether he wants to cover his eyes or not as we approach houses with visually gory decorations
- Television: whether certain images on TV are scary or not
- When he DOES see scary things: reassuring him that ALL these things he is seeing are NOT real
Sam decided at the beginning of October that he wanted to be a Doctor for Halloween. His first intention was to be an American Girl Doctor so that he can possibly make sure his American Girl dolls were healthy and safe. When Halloween arrived yesterday, Zoë took the initiative on getting Sam dressed in a costume.
He had the lab coat, a name tag that his sister made, and decided to wear a wig (our Afro wig) and his Frankenstein gloves. Sam deemed himself The ‘Silly Doctor’.
We filled the month with trips to pumpkin patches and little activities to celebrate Fall. Jenny worked with the kids this past weekend to make painted pumpkins and funky Halloween wreaths. They loved it!
When October 31st arrived Sam was really excited. He kept saying things like “Weh deh coh-tume! YES!” and “Go to tick o teet! YES!” his special education class at school was having a party too (this has been a HUGE help to make same feel more comfortable with Halloween) and Sam had a blast there too!
We got home from school yesterday and did some last minute pumpkin carving (well, to be honest, it was me gutting them and then asking the kiddos to draw faces on them. I then carved them out and set them on the porch. We had time constraints and needed to make this pastime happen lickety split!)
Our trio of pumpkins
Jenny took Zoë across town so that she could go trick-or-treating with her good friends. Sam was so confused as to why he wasn’t heading out with Mama and Ki Ki (he calls Zoë KiKi because he cannot pronounce ‘Sissy’). I reassured him that he and I would be going out together just after they left. He understood and we finally made our way out into the neighborhood just before sunset.
Sam, The Silly Doctor out in the ‘hood doing the Trick Or Treat thing!
Sam did a wonderful job. He communicated with me on which homes were ‘Too Carey’ and which ones he wanted to ‘Go to tick oh teet dis house, YES!’
He knocked on doors, he said ‘Tick oh teet’ and ‘thank you’ and the all important ‘Happy Halloween!’
One thing that really struck me was Sam’s enthusiasm. He kept saying “Meet mo people! People in coh-tume!’ which meant that he was really wanting to meet more people in costume. He happily greeted fellow costumed kiddos and recounted the different ones he thought were so fun.
When a girl walked by with a Katniss costume (the same thing that his sister was dressed as) he went nuts! “Wook at dat, pappa, pappa, pappa! Kat-neh, KiKi coh-tume too! YES! YES!”
This is a huge leap for Sam. To be able to relate that to me was just so intense. Keep in mind that we are talking about a kid who had maybe 10 words he could say a year ago. Now he is formulating sentences and getting more and more complex feelings, observations and thoughts out there every week that passes.
When we got back to the house, Sam burst in the door and stripped off his costume. He said “Papa! Count dah candy! YES!” I made a deal with him that we would count the candy and play with the glow bracelets in the dark AFTER his pajamas were on. Before that happened, I interviewed Sam:
The Recap: Sam’s First Trick Or Treating Experience from Rob Downer on Vimeo.
So, the experience was great. It certainly hasn’t been without moments of terror and anxiety – but- the difference here being that we really worked hard to talk and communicate about these things using a variety of methods. This seemed to work well and I am just thrilled at all the possibilities!
Now we can focus on Thanksgiving, Solstice, and Christmas time (and that is EASY!)