Halloween is just around the corner! Here are a few steps you can take to make a more inclusive environment for children with disabilities, sensory issues, or other barriers that prevent a safe halloween experience. Connecting for Kids provides a step by step guide to hosting a Halloween that every child can enjoy. Below are a few ideas from the article:
Be Aware of Sensory Issues
Halloween decorations can be difficult for a child with sensory sensitivities. Caring for Kids recognizes fog machines, loud noises, and more as potential triggers for sensory overload. Another aspect of sensory issues is that a costume might not be possible for a child. Lack of a costume in no way indicates lack of enthusiasm for Halloween and commenting on it is usually not helpful.
Remember Food Allergies
Children with severe food allergies may not be able to have many different kinds of candy. This is especially true of nut allergies, as candy manufacturers have a high exposure to nuts. In order to help children with allergies or other roadblocks to having a sweet treat, the Teal Pumpkin Project was created. The Teal Pumpkin Project urges houses handing out candy to have a few non food related items to give out on Halloween. This includes small toys, stickers, spider rings, and more. Additionally, a comprehensive list is provided at the Teal Pumpkin Project website.
Assist Children With Anxiety
Although scary features are a classic aspect of Halloween, they are not the best for children with anxiety. In order to prevent anxiety attacks, skip the jump scare attractions. Caring for Kids also recommends keeping your house well lit. Also, pets should be put away and scary costumes to a minimum.
Things Are Not Always As They Seem
Some children might have disabilities that prevent them from saying “Trick or Treat!” or “Thank you!” While this might seem like lack of manners, it is important to remember not to push children who do not say these common phrases. Caring for Kids provides a video of some simple signs to learn for Halloween to communicate with hearing impaired children.