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Plan for Successful Halloween Using Priming, Social Narrative and Token Economy System

35 blog avatar Plan for Successful Halloween Using Priming, Social Narrative and Token Economy System
Expert Name: Karen Chung
Expert Title: Founder and CEO
Company Name:  Special Learning, Inc.
Company URL: www.special-learning.com
Short Bio: Karen is the CEO and Founder of Special Learning. She graduated from Kellog and was introduced to the ABA field and ancillary therapies over a decade ago.

It became her life’s passion to share knowledge of these evidence-based therapies to the global community who either work or have a child/adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or a related disorder. She has become one of the thought-leaders in this space and is achieving her goal through the works of Special Learning, Inc.

Plan for Successful Halloween Using Priming, Social Narrative and Token Economy System

With only 2 weeks left, Halloween is fast approaching. In our first Halloween blog, we covered how to Prepare for Successful Trick-or-Treating by Building Costume Tolerance. Now that your child has learned to feel comfortable with their costume, it’s time to prepare them for the actual day. Using a combination of ABA strategies, you can ensure a successful day (or evening) of trick or treating.

Use priming to help them prepare for what to expect during the actual event. Social narratives are good ways to implement priming. Social narratives are interventions that describe social situations in detail by highlighting cues and offering examples to teach learners what they can expect and what will be expected of them in certain situations.

social story is a form of social narrative that uses simple text, combined with pictures. By using a social story, you can help your child anticipate and prepare for what they can expect during this novel event. Be sure to read the social story several times during the week to reinforce the learning.

Here’s a simple 10-step Halloween social story:

  • Page One: On Tuesday October 31, it will be Halloween. It’s a day when we get to go trick-or-treating.
  • Page Two:  On Halloween, I get to dress up in my costume and look different than I do other days. Some people might not recognize me. If my friends are dressed in a costume, I might not recognize them.
  • Page Three: When we are ready to go, my mom or dad will help me get dressed in my costume. I will remember to take my trick-or-treat bucket that I will use to put my candy in.
  • Page Four: After I put my costume on, we will go outside.  I will hold my mom or dad’s hand as we walk down the street to go trick-or-treating.
  • Page Five: We will walk to our neighbor’s house. I will go to the door and ring the doorbell.
  • Page Six: When my neighbor opens the door, I will say “Trick-Or-Treat!” When my neighbor gives me a treat, I will put it in my bucket. I will need to wait until I get home to eat the candy.
  • Page Seven: We will go to the next house and I will do the same thing again. If I go to a lot of houses, I will get a lot of candy.
  • Page Eight: When I get scared or tired, I will tell my mom or dad. They will help me feel better.
  • Page Nine: When we are all done, we will go home.  I will take off my costume. 
  • Page Ten: After my mom or dad checks the candy they will let me pick one piece of candy to eat. I will have a lot of fun when I go Trick-Or-Treating.

When possible, use actual images in the social story so that your child can quickly relate to the story. To further reinforce learning, solicit your neighbors or family members to create contrived situations in which your child can practice going trick-or-treating in a safe, non-threatening environment. Use a reinforcement system like a Token Economy System to keep your child’s motivation high while they are learning this new skill.

Lastly, teach them at their own pace and don’t place demands that can’t be easily met.  After all, the most important outcome is that your child has a great trick-or-treating experience.

For more information on our Getting Ready for Trick-or-Treating Holiday Learning Kit, please visit our store.

Copyright © 2020. Special Learning Inc. All right reserved.

No part of this article may be reproduced without written permission.
For information, email contact@special-learning.com.


Teaching Numbers: Building Early Language with Flashcards


Parent Waitlist Program


November 02, 2023 | 12pm-1pm PDT

Journey to Independence

Community-based program designed to support families on waitlist

Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

Mother Child
Special Learning’s Free Hotline

This is an independent SL Hotline that is part of our VCAT service. This hotline has no connection with any other association or membership group.

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