October 14, 2022
Sensory Tips for Halloween
Halloween is an exciting time, but it can also be an overwhelming and overstimulating time for children with sensory processing difficulties. Below are some tips to have a sensory-friendly holiday!
Dressing up is one of the best parts of Halloween; however, store bought costumes and masks may be too uncomfortable for some children.
Practice wearing your child’s costume before-hand to help de-sensitize them to the feeling of the fabric.
Wear comfy clothing such as soft cotton or Under Armour-type fabric tops and leggings as a barrier between your child’s skin and the costume. Many retail stores also now sell sensory-friendly costumes. Look, or search online, for “Adaptive Costumes” – these costumes are designed to have flat tags and hidden seems.
If store bough costumes are a no-go for your child have them wear festive pajamas, onesies, or sweaters. Get a trick-or-treat tote with their favorite character on it. Or simply get the costume accessories such as a pirate hook or fairy wand instead of the full outfit.
Also, make sure to bring a change of clothing, as your little one may only be able to tolerate wearing the costume for a brief period of time, which is totally fine as long as they had fun!
Trick-or-treating can be fun and exciting but also overwhelming and anxiety-provoking for some kiddos. Prepare your child for what will happen. Read books/social stories, watch videos, or role-play about Halloween and trick-or-treating so they know what to expect.
Follow this link for a Halloween Social Story from AutismSpeaks.org: https://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/2018-10/Halloween%20Teaching%20Story_0.p
- Trick or Treat when it is light out
- Only go to neighbors you know or a few houses on your block
- Bring a wagon or stroller they can use as a sensory hideaway if they get too tired or overstimulated
- Bring noise cancelling headphones
- Bring fidget toys to keep little hands busy and provide regulating input
- Have a “trick or treat card” your child can hand out if they are non-verbal or have difficulty communicating with others.
- Engage in calming sensory input before and after trick-or-treating to help your child stay regulated (deep breaths, bear hugs, body sock, animal walks, etc.)
You can also skip the trick-or-treating and stay home. Your child may enjoy helping give out treats to others instead of going out. Have a Halloween Scavenger Hunt in your home or backyard. In the end, it’s not always about candy or costumes, it’s about engaging as a family and having fun!
Teal Pumpkin Project
The Teal Pumpkin Project is a simple way to make trick-or-treating more inclusive for children with allergies, food aversions, and dietary restrictions. Households place teal pumpkins on their porches or doorsteps to indicate that they offer non-food treats. Follow this link to find out more about the Teal Pumpkin Project & see what households are participating near you: https://www.foodallergy.org/our-initiatives/awareness-campaigns/living-teal/teal-pumpkin-project
We wish everyone a Happy and Safe Halloween!