Sensory Sensitive Halloween Ideas

Therapy dog Kylo practices putting on his Halloween costume ahead of time!

It’s October, and to me and most of the office that means Halloween. The weather gets cooler and the leaves start to fall. We like to start early around here, to really make it a festive time. Halloween can be such a fun and memorable time for children. For children with sensory processing difficulties, that may not always be the case. I want to provide some strategies to help make halloween an enjoyable time for all children.

Halloween Sensory Sensitive Strategies:

  1. Start prepping early. Talk to your child about halloween, read halloween stories, and if needed, use social stories to discuss costume wearing, parades, or trick-or-treating. Your child’s occupational therapist can help create a social story unique to your child to help them get ready for the festivities
  2. If your child plans to wear a costume and they have tactile sensitivities, the biggest piece of advice is to TRY EVERYTHING ON. Let your child try on every piece of the costume, including any make-up or face paint, to see if they can tolerate the tactile input. Try it on a few times! If tolerated, they can wear their own clothes under the costume to increase comfort. It may help to get the costume one size larger so other clothing can be worn comfortably underneath.
  3. Traditional Trick-or-Treating: Practice! If your child wants to participate, you can set-up a makeshift station at home to practice knocking and/or practice saying “Trick-or-Treat”. If your child uses an AAC device, work with your child’s speech therapist on how to access that phrase. Regardless of how your child communicates, the most important thing is to make sure this is a child-led process. Not every child wants or needs to participate in this particular portion of halloween. Your child may prefer to hand out candy, watch a halloween movie, or participate in a “trunk or treat” instead.
  4. While out and about, make sure to bring along items that your child may need to regulate. This can include headphones, fidget toys, a weighted backpack, essential oils, crunchy snack, stuffed animal to hug, etc.
  5. Have fun, snap pictures and enjoy some candy!

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