Halloween festivities often bring exciting anticipation for many children. However, scratchy uncomfortable costumes, flashing lights, spooky effects, and scary décor may not spell fun for every child. The following are a few things to keep in mind during this spooky season in order to make it inclusive for all.
Show your house is inclusive to children with ASD
Think you may have a child with ASD or other sensory differences visiting your home on Halloween? Autism Speaks offers free printables so trick-or-treaters will know your home is an autism-friendly stop. If you are trick-or-treating with a child who has ASD, Autism Speaks offers many Halloween resources, including a downloadable social story, All About Halloween, that may be a helpful way to explain many Halloween traditions like jack-o-lanterns, trick-or-treating, costumes, and the sights and sounds of the holiday.
Create opportunities for children with allergies
A simple step you can take is to offer non-food treats in a teal pumpkin; this is a way to signal to the 1 in 13 children in the U.S. who have food allergies that you have a treat they can participate in without concern for their allergies. If you can’t get your hands on a teal pumpkin in time, simply using a separate bowl for your non-food items can make children with allergies feel included.
Be understanding of a variety of abilities
Saying “trick or treat” and “thank you” may seem like the basics of trick-or-treating, but there are many kids who may have difficulties doing so. Do not require kids to do anything in order to get their treat. You may have visitors who are nonverbal, have anxiety, point to communicate, are not wearing costumes, or may seem too old for the festivities. Don’t force kids to say “trick-or-treat” or explain their costume before putting something in their bag.
Create a clear path for trick-or-treaters
Keep in mind that individuals celebrating Halloween may have mobility issues—so keeping your path clearly lit, avoiding stairs, and stationing your treats where it’s easy to approach your home makes the night safer for everyone.
Halloween should be a fun time for children and adults. Being mindful of accessibility and inclusivity concerns can help make sure this holiday can be enjoyed by more people—and making some simple changes to your Halloween routine can help create great memories.