Are you looking for tricks to make Halloween a treat for your kids with special needs? Guest blogger Trish Shaeffer offers these 4 tips to make costumes, the atmosphere, treats, and words fun for your child this Halloween.
4 Tricks to Make Halloween a Treat for Your Child with Special Needs
Most kids can’t wait to try on Halloween costumes and make their way through the neighborhood trick-or-treating. But for children with special needs, Halloween can bring new challenges. Their choices of costume or candy may restricted so that Halloween is not always such a treat.
Though children may have limited mobility, a sensory processing disorder, a cognitive problem or a food allergy, they still can enjoy Halloween. Try these tricks to make the haunted holiday the right kind of scary.
- Make costumes work for your child. The traditional boo won’t do if your child’s costume includes a wheelchair, or your kids hate the feel of scratchy material, makeup, and masks. But never fear, you can make it work! Many online stores have costumes for kids with special needs or can even give you ideas on how to make your own. If your child uses crutches, a walker or a wheelchair, get creative! Even crutches can complement a costume. Just be sure the costume doesn’t interfere with your child’s mobility.
- Prepare the senses. For kids with sensory processing disorder, candy, nippy fall air, running around after dark, costumes, or even the noises in the dark can be a challenge. To make sure your child can handle the night, try one of these tricks: Let your child stay at home and hand out treats. Or create a comfortable costume and practice wearing it beforehand. You should even practice the steps of what to say during trick-or-treating to prepare them for the night.
- Take the scare out of treats. If you’re terrified of trusting others to understand your child’s food restrictions, add a warning sticker, a shirt, or a print out to your child’s costume. You can find many ideas online at sites like Star Allergy Alerts. If you child has food sensitivities or allergies, you can also plan ahead to suggest alternatives like toys or all-natural candy. When in doubt, look for the teal pumpkins when going door to door. These pumpkins signify safe treats for children with food allergies. Look for local events that also offer trick-or-treating opportunities for kids with allergies.
4. Provide wise words. For children with developmental or speech delays, you can make cards to hand out when they go door-to-door. These cards explain the issue to others so they can understand your child’s needs and offer a friendly hello even without a word from your child. There are many great ideas online for these cards.
I hope these tricks make Halloween a treat for your child. Have a Boo-tiful day and a happy Halloween. And feel free to leave your Halloween tips in the comment box, too.
Trish Shaeffer mom of 3 active boys, a 9-year-old and 5-year-old twins who were born 2 months early and have special needs. She’s a peer supporter for Parent to Parent and volunteers with the United Cerebral Palsy Network, Special Olympics, and the United Way. She’s also an equine volunteer at Leg Up Farm. She’s married to her best friend and biggest supporter, Chris Schaeffer.
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