Sensory Friendly Halloween

Halloween can be a difficult time for children experiencing sensory integration difficulties. Planning out costumes and routines before hand can help Halloween be successful.

Sensory Friendly Pumpkins
• Put pumpkin ‘guts’ in a Ziploc bag to explore.
• Drill small holes for eyes, ears, mouth, and nose use Mr. Potato Head pieces to decorate the pumpkin. You also have the opportunity to re-do the pumpkin several times before Halloween.
• Painting pumpkins.

Sensory Friendly Costumes
• Allow the child to pick their costume and follow the child’s lead.
• Try on the costume to gauge itchiness and level of comfort. Modify the costume if it is uncomfortable.
• Practice with any make-up or accessories.
• Pieces of the costume should be removed without requiring the child to go home and remove the whole costume.
• Wear comfortable clothes under the costume.
• It is perfectly ok for your child to choose to not wear a costume.

Sensory Friendly Trick or Treating
• Plan your trick or treating route in advance, attempt to stay away from crowds.
• Plan candy rules in advance to prevent meltdowns later.
• Practice the trick or treating etiquette:
o Ring the doorbell
o “Trick or Treat!”
o Get goodies
o “Thank you!”
• Go out before dark.
• Set a time limit to trick or treating.
• Plan a special snack or treat when you are finished to go back home to.
• Take breaks as needed.

If your child doesn’t want to participate in Halloween costumes, trick or treating, and/or becomes overwhelmed it’s ok to modify how Halloween is celebrated. Lots of families are choosing new Halloween traditions where the environment can be more controlled.

By Dr. Baily Zubel, OTD, OTR/L