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How To Create an Interactive Social Story for Halloween

Updated on October 22, 2014
My son practicing for Halloween in his costume.
My son practicing for Halloween in his costume. | Source

What’s a social story?

While most kids are okay with the daily changes of life and shifts in routine, children on the Autism spectrum often struggle to understand what’s going on. A slight change can cause a meltdown or tantrum because the child has no other way to communicate their fear or discomfort with the situation. A social story is, in its simplest form, a script that teaches the child what’s going to happen and how to respond to it.

How can a social story help with Halloween?

Halloween can be scary for typically developing children, and that fear can be worst in children who have limited understanding of the situation and the changes it brings. Writing and sharing a social story with your child can help him or her deal with those changes and feel in control and therefore less afraid of what’s going on.

What should you include in your social story?

The plan for the day (or days). While you can find pre-made social stories online or in books, making one yourself for your child allows you to personalize it so that it is more appropriate and closer to the reality that your child will experience

For Younger Kids:

If your child is too young to read, pictures are of the utmost importance! Don’t forget to include all the Halloween plans. Will there be shopping for a costume? School? A party? Trick or treating? You can use drawings or pictures, depending on what you have and what your child likes.

For Older Kids:

If your child can read, pictures are still nice, but use words as well. Include a script that helps your child know how to respond and act. Will they need to say “Trick or treat” and “Thank you”? Or will they be at home, giving out candy, needing to say “Nice costume” and “Happy Halloween”?

If you have pictures from previous years, you can use them to help make it more “real” and remind your child of how it worked in previous years. You can also stage photos to show what will happen.

Why make it interactive?

It’s great to read, but sometimes the interactive element makes it more exciting and may help to make your child more interested in paying attention. Once I learned how much my son liked to click on the mouse and make things happen on the computer screen, I created interactive social stories to teach him his name, age, and address, and they worked more quickly and easily than any other method that we’d tried.

Making the Presentation

1. Write the story.
For me, the steps are:

a. Go to school
b. Come home and play
c. Dad comes home
d. Eat dinner
e. Put on costume
f. Get trick or treating bag
g. Get picture taken
h. Walk around neighborhood
i. Ring doorbell
j. Say “Trick or Treat”
k. Get candy
l. Say “Thank you”
m. Come home
n. Get out of costume
o. Take bath
p. Go to bed

Your story may have more or less steps. Remember to go with whatever works for you
and your child. Personalize it so that it includes everything you need.

2. Find pictures.
You can search through Google images, use the clip art that comes with your
PowerPoint, buy clip art, use pictures that you’ve taken, or even buy CDs full of clip art.
Just remember that sometimes younger children do better with “real life” images
because a common issue with kids on the Autism spectrum is an inability to generalize,
so those clip art images may not be “real” enough.

3. Set it up in PowerPoint!

Making an Interactive Social Story in PowerPoint

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    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is a very useful hub. Thanks for sharing your tips!

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