Hands Autism Services wants to provide an “alternative to normalcy” this Halloween.

The organization will be holding a virtual costume contest for its member families.

Dr. Karen Grattan-Miscio, Senior Manager of Autism Services at Hands, says that normally, they would host a sensory Halloween at its facilities for children with autism.

“We would have a little get together where they could practice trick or treating and they can share some of the Halloween events in a smaller setting. Sometimes these large events are tough for kids with autism,” Dr. Grattan-Miscio explained.

This year’s virtual costume conference will invite families to submit pictures of their Halloween costumes to Hands. Each submission gets entered into a draw with gift cards available as prizes.

With the COVID-19  pandemic, Dr. Grattan-Miscio says that children with autism can be affected more adversely by the changes it has brought on everyday life.

“One of the key things about autism with the little ones is that structure with consistency and routine which is so important. Any time there’s an upheaval in that, it can be challenging for them,” she noted.

“This is an alternative to normalcy,” Dr. Grattan-Miscio continued.  “It becomes a bit of a family experience. Some of the pictures we’ve received are of little ones, some are of family costumes and obviously as we get closer to Halloween we’re excited to see what comes our way.”

Submissions for the costume contest can be made to Hands Autism Services’ Facebook page or via email at [email protected]

The deadline for submissions is on November 2 at 4 pm.