Making Sure Halloween is Safe and Fun for Your Child

Making Sure Halloween is Safe and Fun for Your Child

For most kids, Halloween is a fun time of year, filled with lots of candy, costumes, and spooky fun. However, if your child has special needs, it can be the complete opposite, overstimulating and scary. Safety is always a top priority, but making sure he enjoys the experience should be as well. Here are five tips and suggestions that can help ensure both.

Make sure she is easily seen.

More kids are hit by cars on Halloween, than any other day. The main reason is that most costumes are made of dark colors, making it difficult for drivers to see her, once the sun goes down. Attach reflective stickers, glow sticks, or giving her a flashlight can help her be spotted in the dark.

Make sure he is comfortable.

This goes for both his costume and his environment. If he has sensory issues, keep that in mind when creating/buying his costume. You may consider using his regular clothing as the main "base" for his costume, and just add accessories. Avoiding masks or face-paint may also be wise, if he is sensitive to such things. When choosing a location, consider his personality, fears, and likes/dislikes. If he is scared of the dark, visit a well lit inside location, such as a mall, church, or community center.

Use the buddy system.

The general rule is that children under the age of 12 need to have adult supervision, but it all depends on your child. Depending on the location chosen, some may have different rules, so it is smart to check them out beforehand. If you are allowing her to go out without you or another adult, make sure it is a group or buddy event. NEVER send her out completely alone, no matter her age.

Prepare him beforehand.

Most children with special needs do best with a routine and predictability. Holidays can be especially tough since they are not a typical event. Start talking to him early about halloween. Go to the library or bookstore and get some themed books and start reading and talking about what he is to expect. Familiarize him with the chosen location if possible. Take walks through the neighborhood and talk about what is expected to happen. The more he becomes familiar with the process, the more smoothly it will go.

Don’t force her.

Most of us think of Halloween as a typical children’s "right on passage". However it is completely possible that the whole experience may be too overstimulating and overwhelming for her, that she may not enjoy it at all. Listen and pay attention to her. If she seems not to be having a good time, it is probably best to provide a "break" or even cut the night short.

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Making Sure Halloween is Safe and Fun for Your Child
Shandy Marso, Contributor

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