Halloween and Trick-or-Treating with a child with special needs

It’s that time of the year again! Halloween excitement is in the air. Children get to dress up as their favorite character and collect treats with friends. For kids with special needs Halloween can present certain challenges. Here are tips for making trick-or-treating an enjoyable experience for both you and your child!

  • Kids Who Can’t Speak Can Still Ask for Candy- If your child uses augmentative communication, get the “trick or treat” message out this Halloween using high-tech (iPad, dynavox) or lowtech (cards or a sign) devices. Get creative and decorate a spooky Trick or Treat sign with your child!
  • Sensory Issues- your child may reject a costume that is scratchy, too tight, too loose, or just doesn’t feel right. Create a costume out of comfortable, familiar clothing. Your child’s favorite black sweat pants and t-shirt morph into a skeleton when you add white tape “bones.” A soft and loved hooded sweatshirt can be decorated as a dog, cat, bunny or devil with felt or construction paper. Your child’s costume may be as simple as a hat or as complex as their imagination — and yours — allows.
  • Scary costumes and tons of noise are frightening- If the noise and commotion bother, stay home and give out treats. Play a game of “guess what costume will come to the door next” to make the unexpected less scary.
  • Food Allergies- If your child has food allergies consider bringing highly preferred items that can be substituted for the candy they chose. You may also want to give neighbors safe Halloween treats in advance to hand out to your child.
  • Practice makes perfect- role-play, have your child practice ringing the doorbell, saying “trick-or-treat” and “thank you” after choosing a treat.
  • Read a social story for trick-or-treating:
    http:// chitchatandsmalltalk.blogspot.com/2012/10/trick-or-treating-social-story.html

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