Alternative Halloween Ideas for Kids with Special Needs

by Oct 19, 2022Holidays, How-Tos1 comment

Guest blogger Mark Arnold provides ten tips on alternative Halloween ideas for kids with special needs.
Alternative Halloween ideas for kids with special needs are implemented more now than in the past. In the interest of spreading alternative Halloween love, guest blogger Mark Arnold shares 10 simple, sensible ideas.

While Halloween can be a fun time of year for many children, for many children with special needs it can be a confusing, anxiety-inducing, terrifying time. It doesn’t have to be like that if we have alternatives in place so they can safely join in the fun. Here are 10 helpful alternative Halloween ideas you can easily implement for kids with special needs.

          1. Prepare a visual timetable in advance so kids with special needs and disabilities know what is going to happen. This will help them to be less anxious about the holiday.
          2. Prime friendly neighbors who are known to your children. For example, ask the neighbors to have their outdoor lights on and a bucket of sweets or snacks ready for the children to enjoy safely. Prepare the children to sing their favorite song as a thank you.
          3. Go for an autumn walk in the countryside or a park. Collect pinecones, pick blackberries, kick through the fallen leaves, or look up at the stars. Bring flashlights along on the walk and have hot chocolate and cookies ready for when you get back home.
          4. Provide headphones for children sensitivity to loud noise so unexpected noises are less of a problem.
          5. Choose alternative bright and light outfits. Make Halloween more about the dressing up than wearing terrifying costumes. There are plenty of non-scary, positive options to choose from.
          6. Host an alternative party, a counter-cultural celebration of things that are bright, light, colorful, and good. This offers more variety for dressing up and is equally fun without the scares.
          7. Choose sugar-free sweets or healthy snacks with a Halloween theme.
          8. Have an autumn indoor picnic. Spread out blankets and enjoy a feast together. If the weather is good, have an autumn barbecue with good outdoor lighting.
          9. Think about who is being left out and invite them to your light party, autumn picnic, or barbecue.
          10. Ask your kids how they are feeling. Have activities ready for those who are struggling so they can have fun in a different way. Things like carving pumpkins, making pumpkin mini-pies, a bubble machine, apple bobbing, and roasting marshmallows. Also create safe space kids can access if they need a rest. Fill it with cozy blankets and cushions and provide soft lighting.


        1. I hope these Alternative Halloween ideas for kids with special needs help make the holiday a great success!Do you like what you see at You can receive more great content by subscribing to the monthly Different Dream newsletter and signing up for the daily RSS feed delivered to your email.
          Image by Mayur Gadge from Pixabay

By Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold is the Additional Needs Ministry Director at Urban Saints, a leading national Christian children’s and youth organization. He is co-founder of the Additional Needs Alliance, a national and international advocate for children and young people with additional needs or disabilities. Mark is a Churches for All and Living Fully Network partner, a member of the Council for Disabled Children and the European Disability Network. He writes an additional needs column for Premier Youth and Children’s Work (YCW) magazine and blogs at The Additional Needs Blogfather. He is father to James, who has autism spectrum condition, associated learning disability, and epilepsy. To find out more about how Mark’s work can help you, contact him at: or @Mark_J_Arnold

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Meet Jolene

Jolene Philo is a published author, speaker, wife, and mother of a son with special needs.



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