We walk over to my car after taking the required Halloween photos outside our front door, my twenty-year-old profoundly autistic son, dressed as Jack-Jack from the Incredibles, and me as Helen, his mom (of course!). As I unlock the car doors he hesitates, as this is not our usual routine. For years we have trick-or-treated in the neighborhood, making a few rounds and heading back to the house to relax and hand out candy. This year we are trying something different- we will be attending the “Autism Trick-or-Treating for Young Adults” event sponsored by POAC Autism Services, put together by Tim Hogan, a Howell high school teacher who is parent to a young severely autistic adult himself.
I am not nervous about how Justin will handle this change, as one of the things I’ve done his whole life is switch things up when I can just to expose him to different things, and that seems to have worked with him. Plus his grandma is in attendance, and as she is a staple at Halloween I am certain he understands what he’ll be doing next.
Which is acquiring candy he has no interest in, but his mother does.
Within fifteen minutes we are at the over 55 community in Howell, Pineview Estates, which graciously has been hosting this event for quite some time. Frankly, I’ve been wanting to try this event for years, ever since Justin was old enough. First Covid struck, then we missed one Halloween flying to Disney (it was worth the sacrifice), and last year for whatever reason I just wasn’t up to it. This year, I was determined we’d give it a try.
And I’m so glad we did.
We easily found parking at the clubhouse, were given a map, and made our way around the neighborhood, stopping at houses with yellow caution tape attached to mailboxes. Justin took to the change in routine like a champ, and we conquered about a dozen houses before he and my mom were tired and we decided to head back to the clubhouse, for part two of the event, free pizza.
Could that day have gotten any better?
Some of the residents weren’t home yet and left bowls of goodies on tables for our perusal, but many were in attendance. I could tell how much they wanted to give something to this community, and all expressed their hopes we’d be back next year.
After scarfing down some pizza and saying hi to some familiar faces we head back to our car, full of carbs and satisfied. I ask Justin if he wants to do more in our neighborhood and he shakes his head “no,” which I can respect and am secretly grateful for. We drive back to my house, my mom commenting on how kind everyone was, me grateful for POAC’s, Tim Hogan’s, and the Pineview Estates HOA’s collective generosity.
And I am profoundly grateful that there is one more event out there for such a forgotten subsection of the autism community, our profoundly autistic adults.
We return tired but happy, particularly as I’ve coaxed Justin to choose Reese’s Peanut Butter cups whenever confronted with a chocolate choice, so I know my annual candy stash is complete. I hug my mom goodbye, we happily disrobe from our costumes, and declare another Halloween in the books, well done.
Many, many thanks to Tim Hogan, POAC Autism Services, and the Pineview Estates HOA, for providing an opportunity for our autistic “big kids” to engage in such a lovely tradition in a safe, accepting environment.
Many thanks to the smiles and encouragement of such lovely people who gave me free chocolate.
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