Andy Williams doesn’t know what he’s talking about. In his ubiquitous song, he tries to claim that the winter holiday season is “the most wonderful time of the year.” Seriously? Has he not heard about fall? He’s welcome to his opinion, I suppose, but personally, I don’t care for large gatherings, turkey, or snow. Also, mistletoe. I dislike it when people randomly hug me, so you can imagine how I feel about mistletoe.
Fall is so clearly superior. The leaves change color, you get to wear boots, and there is pumpkin spice everything. I am not kidding about this; I bought pumpkin spice deodorant a week ago. Pumpkin is everywhere, and I love it.
My favorite part, however, is Halloween. A lot of autistic people I know, of all ages, are obsessed with Halloween as well; it makes me wonder why there aren’t more sensory-sensitive Halloween experiences. Although how you make a low-sensory haunted house, I haven’t a clue. Someone, figure that out, please.
I think maybe it’s the idea of getting to dress up in a costume that’s appealing. Tons of autistic kids go through a period when they want to wear a costume exclusively. Pirate and Disney Princess seem to be two popular ones. I bet my parents were sorry they’d took me to the Ice Capades when I was about seven, because after that I was Smurfette for like a year.
I start planning next year’s Halloween on November 1st. I love love love doing theme costumes with friends or family, and if you want a nice, cohesive theme, you have to start planning early. And begging people to play along with you until they say yes to make you shut up.
One of the reasons I think Halloween is so popular with people with ASD is sort of sad. Being us isn’t easy, and it isn’t fun, and often neurotypicals go out of their way to make it even less fun. You know who doesn’t get teased for being different? Batman. You know whose differences are ultimately celebrated, not mocked? Elsa from Frozen. Stepping into the identity of a hero can be incredibly empowering. I’ve never outgrown my fascination with pretending to be someone else. I do it in real life, albeit without the costumes. Unless business suits count.
I’m not going to claim to have some profound understanding of why so many autistic people love Halloween. My theories are just that… Theories I’m entirely unqualified to posit. For whatever reason Halloween appeals to you, I hope you and yours enjoy the cool weather, apple cider, pumpkins, and most of all, costumes. It’s the actual most wonderful time of the year!
Faking Normal is a series written by guest blogger, J, an adult on the autism spectrum. Her other articles can be found here.