Whether you're passing our candy, trick-or-treating, or staying in, follow these simple tips to make sure Halloween is a treat for all.
If you're planning on taking your child out trick-or-treating this year, follow these 10 tips on how to make sure there's nothing spooky about this Halloween.
Help familiarize your child with what trick-or-treating may be like by practicing with a neighbor or at your own house. Rehearse going up to a door, knocking or ringing the doorbell, and asking for candy in whatever way your child can.
Set your trick-or-treating route in advance. Keep your route close to home, in case you need to get back quickly. Avoid houses that may be too scary, gory, have excessive or flashing lights, or decorations that may make your child uncomfortable.
Walk your route a few days before Halloween to help familiarize your child with it.
Encourage your child to try his or her costume in advance. If something is uncomfortable, make modifications.
Before trick-or-treating, discuss and set rules on how much candy your child can eat and when.
Let your child stop when they want to, even if it’s only a house or two in. Take a break or head home if your child wants to.
Make sure your child has identifying information on them, such as a tag, card, or bracelet in case you get separated.
Put something on your child such as a glow stick necklace to help spot him or her if your neighborhood gets crowded with trick-or-treaters.
Don’t underestimate your neighbors! Talk to them beforehand and explain the needs of your child.
Remember, it’s OK to stay at home. Create your own Halloween traditions that fit your family’s needs, like a special movie night, baking Halloween-themed goodies, or even passing out candy.
If you're planning to pass out candy this Halloween, remember that an estimated 1 in 59 children will be diagnosed with autism in the US this year. It's likely a child with a disability - whether it's visible or not - may stop by your house. Follow these tips to make sure no one has to walk away from your door empty-handed.
Whether you’re putting up scary zombies or a smiling jack-o-lantern, consider avoiding flashing or excessive lights and loud music. These things can be overwhelming to children with disabilities and could even cause seizures.
Didn’t hear, “Trick or treat” or “Thank you?” This isn’t because a child is being rude. A child may be non-verbal or nervous in this new setting. Try asking questions they can respond to by pointing or showing the answer. Don’t press them or withhold their candy.
Make sure everyone can get a treat by offering some toys or trinkets. It’s hard to anticipate allergies and diet restrictions. By offering items that aren’t food-based, no one has to walk away empty-handed.
No costume? No problem! Costumes are often itchy or tight. Some children may be sensitive to this. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to participate.
If a child is taking a long time to choose or is rooting through the candy, be patient. They may want a closer look to ensure they get the candy they want.
Don’t be mad if a child takes more than one piece of candy. Some children with disabilities may have less developed motor skills. It can be hard to grab just one item from a bowl.
If a teenager or young adult rings your doorbell, keep in mind that maturity levels and the interests of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities don’t always line up with age. They want to enjoy Halloween like everyone else!
Above all else, be patient, be understanding, and have an open mind.