St. Louis, MO – Halloween is quickly approaching. But before you head to the store to pick out the best candy, keep in mind the trick-or-treaters with disabilities who may be stopping by.
An estimated one in 59 children in the United States is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder each year. It’s very likely that a child with a disability – whether it is visible or not – may be stopping by your house this Halloween. That’s why Easterseals Midwest is offering the following tips to make sure Halloween is enjoyable for all the trick-or-treaters out there.
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!
Be patient, be understanding, and keep an open mind. Not all disabilities are visible. By remembering these simple tips, you’re ensuring that everyone enjoys their Halloween, regardless of ability.
About Easterseals Midwest | Easterseals Midwest is a nonprofit organization changing the way the world defines and views disability by making profound, positive differences in people’s lives every day. The organization employs 1,800 employees delivering services to more than 5,000 individuals statewide through four divisions: Autism Services, Community Living Services, Early Childhood Services, and Employment Services.