Sensory Friendly Halloween Tips

With Halloween just right around the corner, here are four tips to help your child with sensory challenges enjoy the festivities.

Tip #1 Show photos of family members in costumes

You can help prepare your child for Halloween by showing photos of family members dressed up in costumes. This can be a great way to explain Halloween traditions and activities that your family participates in. Also keep in mind that several traditions and activities for Halloween conflict with common rules, including not taking candy from strangers. You can discuss rules and boundaries with your child to help them better understand Halloween.

Tip #2 Pretend play with different costumes

Another fun way to prepare your child for Halloween is to pretend play by dressing up in different costumes. This can help your child become comfortable with wearing a costume. For costumes, consider the material and fit and make sure that costumes are not too long, loose, tight, scratchy or stiff. Also avoid face paint, makeup and masks if your child has a facial sensitivity.

Tip #3 Modify Halloween games to meet your child’s needs

You can help your child participate in Halloween parties by modifying the games or activities to meet your child’s needs. One idea is to have your child decorate a pumpkin with stickers instead of carving a pumpkin. For school Halloween parties, you can discuss different ways to modify games or activities with the child’s teacher.

Tip #4 Stay in familiar areas if you go trick-or-treating

If your family decides to go trick-or-treating, remember to say in familiar areas that are close to home. Consider visiting only the homes of your friends and family members to help your child feel comfortable. Also be mindful of houses with loud noises, lights and spooky decorations. Practicing how to trick or treat with your child can also be helpful, including walking up to the door, saying the phrase “trick or treat”, putting the treat in the bag and saying thank you.

However, there are many other fun activities that your child can participate in, like watching a movie or making a Halloween treat. Choose the activities that are best for your child.

Sources: The American Occupational Therapy Association and Parents Magazine.

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