Tips for a Safe & Happy Halloween

Halloween is an exciting time for kids and parents alike, but it can also present some unique challenges for children with sensory sensitivities or communication difficulties. To ensure your child has a safe and happy Halloween, here are some helpful tips from your Step Forward Therapy Occupational Therapists and Speech Language Pathologists: 

  1. Sensory Sensitivities:
    • Consider bringing earplugs to help dampen the noise of spooky sounds and loud decorations.
    • Sunglasses can be a great addition, especially for those sensitive to bright lights and flashing decorations.
  2. Buddy System:
    • Use the long-standing buddy system and ensure your child always has a friend or family member with them. This provides a sense of security so they have the freedom to have fun.
  3. Startling Situations:
    • If your child dislikes unexpected stimuli and experiences, practice ringing the doorbell and taking a couple of steps back while waiting for the door to open. If there is a dog ready to surprise them or a freaky decoration, this gives them just a bit of extra space and time to process the experience. This can give them a bit more control over the situation.
  4. Stay on the Sidewalk:
    • Remind your child to stick to the sidewalk and avoid running into the street while going from house to house. In front of your own house, up the path to your door, or anywhere that is similar to the places you will be walking on your Trick or Treating path, line the sides with colored tape (ex: painters tape), and practice staying in the lines. 
  5. Nonverbal Friends:
    • Signs that say “Trick or Treat” and “Thank You” can be a great tool for communication
    • create a simple picture card that says “Trick or Treat” so they can easily show it to neighbors.
    • Communication Bracelet: Create a simple paper bracelet with messages like “Trick or Treat,” “Thank You,” and “Please.”
    • Device Icons: If your child uses a communication device, add icons related to Halloween and trick-or-treating to help them express themselves.
  6. Fidget Tools:
    • Encourage your child to carry a small fidget toy or tool that can help them stay calm and focused during the festivities.
  7. Model Interaction:
    • Role-play and model what to say when someone opens the door, this gives them a good example to learn from.

With these tips and some preparation, you can help your child enjoy Halloween to the fullest, making it a fun and memorable experience for the entire family. Have a safe and Happy Halloween! 🎃👻