Halloween is a fun and exciting time of year for all children when they get to dress up as their favorite characters and go trick-or-treating to collect candy and other treats. However, Halloween can spell trouble for special needs children and their families. Depending on the disability, these children may find it difficult even to get out of the house or may have mental challenges that can make it scary to see certain costumes. With a few timely tips, parents can protect their children from these and other dangers and can have a fun time with their family in their neighborhood.
Having a Safe Halloween
- First, special needs children will need to have comfortable, safe costumes. This could mean picking non-threatening outfits for some children or picking loose, soft costumes for others. Many special needs children have problems with excessive sensory stimulation; having them accompany parents on an outing to pick out costumes is ideal. In addition, costumes should be flame-retardant, should not drag on the ground and should be easily visible even at night.
- Second, special needs children often need lots of preparation for new events. This is particularly important during a season that may be seen as scary for some. These children should be introduced to the concept of Halloween and trick-or-treating long before the day arrives. Talking about it ahead of time will calm their fears and help them think of any questions that they have. In addition, parents may want to take children through the neighborhood where they will be trick-or-treating to give them a sense of something familiar.
- Third, special needs children should never be left alone when they are trick-or-treating. Younger children should always be with a parent or caretaker while older children may do all right when trick-or-treating with an older sibling or responsible friend. Not only does this provide safety in numbers but it also helps the special needs person to be with someone familiar at all times.