We go out with pretty much the same group of people for trick-or-treating every year. Since Frances was old enough to know what Halloween is, she has insisted that we leave the group and that only she and I go from door to door.
This actually makes sense: gross-motor wise, there is the effort of keeping apace with others; emotionally, meltdowns slow her down; socially, she always chooses to be away from others.
This year? It was a little different. She ran — even out-running the older kids — from door to door. She did her best to speak. One little boy — the one she spent the most time beside — was on the spectrum, too, and they really did well alongside each other at the party afterwards.
The worst that happened this year was that she lost the old, dirty stuffed animal that accompanies her everywhere, and her father took a flashlight and successfully retraced our steps in order to find it.
Before our arrival at the host house, she had had such a huge meltdown that I figured that I would be spending much of my time handling meltdowns while trying to signal “let’s leave” to my husband early on in the evening. That’s what usually happens at any social event.
But not this Halloween. We got through a big social event with just a few meltdowning moments. Her anxiety (for example, as she encountered the imagined possibility of anaphylaxis while watching a guinea pig), was evident but we managed.
Halloween wasn’t as difficult as it usually is, and, for me, that is success.