Halloween Tips for Kids with Special Needs

Halloween is on the way!
All the little ones (and big kids too) are so excited! They just can’t wait for the big night to come; dressing up, hanging out with all the neighborhood kids, getting spooked by strange sounds and spooky shadows.  Sounds like a blast, right?  Except when your little one can’t stand the feel of a mask on his face. Or has a hard time being around a lot of noise (i.e. cackling witches and clanking chain sound effects).
The good news is that there are a lot of ways you can help your child have an awesome Halloween.

Talk about Halloween.  A lot.

Explain how trick or treating works.  Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and assure your child that they’ll get more than a rock.  Talk about which houses you’ll be visiting or even walk the route a few times together.  Explain that your child might see some scary things, but it’s only costumes and decorations.  Anything that you can do to make Halloween feel familiar, do it.
Choose a costume early.

Let your child help pick out her costume.  She’s the one who will be wearing it and if she loathes the tulle underskirt of the adorable Little Red Riding Hood costume you found, skip it.  Make sure she feels every piece of the outfit she chooses and that she listens to it as it moves.  Whatever you get, wash it at least once.  Cut out any bothersome tags.  Have your child wear it around the house for a few trial runs.  If it’s uncomfortable at first, that’s ok.  Start with short increments of time and build up, if possible.  Wearing familiar clothes underneath can also be a huge help.

**Be sure to check out our NEW book about Interoception. What is interoception, how do children with autism struggle with emotions and feelings? Also, so many tips and ideas to help your child TODAY! All in one book. Get yours today…..it’s sold out twice already!


Choose your time wisely.
If possible, start early.  An early start will mean less traffic and more daylight.  Make sure your child has eaten and is well-rested.  All the prep work in the world won’t help if you have a hungry and tired little one.
Prepare for what you can.
If noise is an issue, have a pair of earplugs or headphones on hand.  Make sure your child has a special soothing object or fidget toy in his pocket.  This can be a stone, a soft piece of cloth, a stress ball, or a small Koosh ball.  The costume doesn’t have a pocket?  Sew one in.  They’re pretty easy to do and there are plenty of YouTube tutorials to help you out.  Here’s a link to one I’ve used.
Have an escape plan.
Make sure you have a code figured out before you leave in the event that your child needs to call it quits but doesn’t want to attract attention.  Verbal codes are easy and hard to miss. Pumpernickel, grasshopper, or another fun vocabulary word that’s not likely to come up in everyday conversation.  Also worth discussing is a physical cue. Carol Burnett’s ear tug became famous.  Have fun coming up with something together that’s unique but not too conspicuous.
Don’t force it.
If your kid wants to go home after the first house, that’s fine.  If your kid wants to take his costume off and keep going in his pajamas, that’s fine.  If your kid decides to not wear the costume in the first place, that’s fine.  If your kid decides that going trick or treating just isn’t going to happen this year, THAT’S FINE!  
This Halloween may end with a giant haul of candy after trick or treating for hours.  It may end with handing out candy from the security of your own home.  The important thing is to have fun. Besides, you can always try again next year!


Retained Reflexes Course – Brain & Sensory Foundations

Do you worry that you could be missing something in your approach to therapy? Do you wish you could have a bigger impact in a shorter amount of time? Do you want a step-by-step system that is tested, proven, and supported by evidence?

Cara’s Bestselling Book

Many people struggle with sensory processing difficulties. Regulating emotions, knowing when to eat, drink, go to the toilet, and feeling your breathing and heart rate all depend on our internal awareness.

Related Posts

Close this search box.
© Copyright 2024 The Pocket OT. All rights reserved.
Play Video