Autism, travel, parenting and mental health

Navigating Your Spectrum at Mickey’s Halloween Party

Navigating Your Spectrum at Mickey’s Halloween Party
Halloween when you’re on the autism spectrum can be uncomfortable. For our kiddos, it’s not the spooky stuff that they have issues with. Its the trick or treating, costume wearing and communication barrier. We first took my oldest kiddo to Disneyland Halloween when he was just one, and found it to be perfect for his needs! For people on the spectrum Disneyland can be a very loud place, with too many people. However, Mickey’s Halloween Party is the perfect place to get your autistic kiddos or adults into the Halloween spirit!

Mickey’s Halloween Party

The Halloween Party is a separate ticket than general admission. While these typically sell out early there are still tickets available for the following days: September: 19, 21, 24, 26   October: 2, 9, 16, 23, 29, 31 This includes entry into both Disneyland and Disneyland California Adventure Park, 3 hours prior to the start of the party. After the party officially starts you get 5 hours of Halloween fun!

Mickey’s Halloween Party is Fantastic for Navigating your Spectrum

Less People

My favorite thing about the Halloween Party is that it is separate from general admission. This means less people in the park, in line for rides, and waiting for fireworks/parades. I’ve discussed Disneyland’s DAS pass before but you most likely wont even need it for the Halloween Party. Most rides are between 10-20 min waits and as the evening winds-down the wait times get shorter! This is fantastic for kiddos who fixate on certain rides, because riding multiple times in a row is pretty easy to manage! There are also fun dance parties with some of your favorite Disney Characters!

Trick or Treating

If your autistic loved one isn’t a fan of trick or treating, for whatever reason, I highly recommend trying out the Halloween Party.  Trick or treating can be difficult for people on the spectrum. But Disney makes it easy, structured, and the cast members are very good about helping everyone along. There are many different stations located throughout the park and most are out in the open. (So no awkward moments where your kids are trying to run into other people’s house, yay!) There are lines where families stay together and walk up to station and the cast members hand out the candy. They don’t care if you say trick or treat! They will also not try to prompt your kiddos to speak either, which is amazing for kiddos with speech issues. There have been trips where we have left the kiddos in the stroller and pushed them through the line. Which was very helpful when my kiddos were younger. Plus you get so much candy that you can use it as Halloween candy at home!

Costumes Not Required!

If your kiddos are comfortable in costumes great! If not, also great! No one is required to wear a costume to attend or trick or treat. However, many characters in the parks will have Halloween attire, you can prep them with videos or pictures to get them ready. If your kiddos are on the fence about costumes or not interested, I suggest a family theme ! We’ve been doing family costumes for years now and it helps everyone get into the spirit! My kids love seeing us in costumes and it has helped them to really engage with Halloween. You can check out Disneyland’s costume guide here.
Family Guardians of the Galaxy Costumes

Did I Mention Less People?

There are more special features beside trick or treating, and easier access to rides. Disneyland puts on a spectacular Halloween themed firework show and parade during the party. If you’ve ever been to Disney at peak season, you know the utter craziness of firework/parade time. Less people means less time spent trying to get spots for these events. It also means it takes less time to navigate the park. AND it also means less crowds in line for some of the specialty treats. Calories don’t count at Disneyland, right?
Halloween isn’t comfortable for everyone. Disneyland Halloween Party is the closest thing that they currently offer that I feel is the most special needs friendly. I would love if someday they would have an Autism Awareness day, with limited attendance and quieter music, but that’s not likely. While the party is pricey it comes with so many benefits for special needs families looking to enjoy the parks with a Halloween twist.
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