Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Ritualization of Halloween: Part I

Tomorrow is Halloween and it will be a very busy day. Last week, in order to reduce a little stress, I announced that we would carve our pumpkin the day before (which would be today.) I would list all the things I'll be doing tomorrow, but it would take too long. Anyway, I shouldn't have been surprised when my nine-year-old (who has autism and also a fantastic memory) protested. In the past, we have always carved our pumpkin on Halloween night. He even reminded me this morning that we would carve pumpkins tomorrow.

The right thing to do do would probably be to use the proper behavior supports such as social stories or a visual schedules (more on these later) and/or compromises in order to follow my plan to carve the pumpkin tonight. The goal of my husband and I is to reduce his tendency to be rigid about rituals. However, even though the behavior supports would help my son accept the new ritual, he would not necessarily be happy about it and I really want us all to have fun tomorrow.

So whether this is right or not, we are going to carve the pumpkin on Halloween Night. We'll also have to stick to the standard triangle eyes and nose and our typical toothy mouth--at least this year anyway. My son's behavior is improving every year as he matures, so hopefully we'll be able to alter his expectations of pumpkin carving. Let's hope anyway.

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