As many of my loyal readers and followers know, I have a son on the autism spectrum.  While he certainly has his moments as most special needs children do, I can fully admit that he is a well-mannered, well-behaved young man.  And last night I got to spend a very special evening with him.

Hunter is 16 years old and I have had ten years of being able to trick-or-treat with him and my daughter.  But, for the first time this year, my daughter decided that she was too old to go, much to Hunter’s dismay.  I wanted nothing more than to spend one last fall evening with him, going from house to house and receiving treats.

And while it was certainly nice meeting some of the people in our neighborhood, something happened that I could not help but remember.  When walking up to one specific house, the person made a comment, “Wow, he’s a tall trick-or-treater!”  Surely I understand that the individual didn’t mean anything by what was said, but it really hurt me.  I didn’t take the time to explain that Hunter was on the spectrum, or that this was his last trick-or-treat, or how much it meant to me for us to do this together.

All I could think about for the rest of the night was that comment.  Is it really that big of a deal to give him a piece of candy without making comments?  Do you understand that my son will never experience many of the things that you take for granted?  Whether it be a loving relationship with a significant other, the joys of going to college, or even having a friend that he can talk to about problems, Hunter will never get to experience many of the wonderful things life has to offer.

hunter

Hunter dressed up as a Ghostbuster on his final trick-or-treat and got to share the occasion with some close family friends.

This comment upset me the most because Hunter loves trick-or-treating and one of the few things that he loves is being taken away from him because of comments like these.  That is part of the reason that this is his last year of doing this, because I personally can’t take comments like this.

I think the thing about Hunter that amazed me last night is how happy he is going from house to house.  Even on a cold, somewhat rainy night, Hunter kept up the pace and didn’t want to stop until the final bell sounded.  And, most of all, he would never even think about this comment being a negative one.

I’m sure that people will comment that I could be oversensitive in this regard, but the fact that I spent last night with someone I love so much doing something he loves so much really touched me.  And to have that comment made put a damper on my otherwise memorable night.

In the future, I’m sure that Hunter can dress up and hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters, but it will never be same.  I’ll never forget these days as long as I live.  So for those of you handing out candy this weekend or on Monday, I want you to think about how much of an impact that one, seemingly insignificant, comment had on me.  Please remember that this could be someone’s last night like this and a final opportunity for a father and son to enjoy something that we cherish.