My Tips For A Sensory Friendly Halloween.
For some of us, Halloween is a much-awaited holiday and the one we love the most. For others, it can bring fear and dread. There are so many reasons that people love Halloween and equally as many reasons that people don’t! But never fear because we are going to give you some Tips for a sensory-friendly Halloween!
Halloween is a holiday celebrated on 31st October each year. Many years ago as part of the ancient festival of Samhain people would dress up and light bonfires to ward off ghosts. This holiday is celebrated the night before All Saints Day.
Not everyone celebrates Halloween and in Mexico, they celebrate until 2nd November!
Over my lifetime, Halloween has changed dramatically. When I was a youngster we used to carve turnips and put a candle inside and knock on doors asking “a penny for the lantern”. Our fancy dress was a bin bag and a plastic witches hat. I have seen Halloween for my children become the same kind of Halloween I used to see in the movies. The Halloween I always wished for as a child but being British I never thought I’d see.
Halloween Can Be A Nightmare
There are so many things involved in Halloween these days and if you don’t think about it in advance it can literally become a nightmare. You need to think about decorations, costumes, sweets, parties, noise, strangers, pets, people knocking on your door!
So I’m going to give you My Tips For A Sensory Friendly Halloween.
When it comes to decorating your house for Halloween think about the senses. Pumpkins can be smelly, especially when they have a lit candle inside. Decide if you really need to carve a pumpkin or if you can buy a prop that won’t give you or your child sensory overload.
Are You Over Sensitive?
Decorations can be colourful and messy making them very visually disturbing and overwhelming. If you or your child are visually over sensitive you need to consider this. Some Halloween props are also very noisy, so if you are overwhelmed by loud sudden noises it might be worth avoiding these types of props.
Costumes can be a sensory nightmare, especially those Halloween Costumes you pick up in the Supermarket. They are usually stiff and itchy and not a pleasant experience at all. These costumes can also be scary to some people.
These days for Halloween you can be flexible and adaptable and still dress up and have a great time. My eldest child loves Cosplay so they tend to reuse their cosplay stuff at Halloween. These days you don’t have to be a scary witch or goblin you can become your favourite anime character instead!
My youngest doesn’t dress up anymore but the last couple of times that he did he wore a onesie. He was comfortable and that is all that mattered. One year we actually found a onesie that was a glow in the dark skeleton – that was epic!
Small Is Mighty
There is no competition when it comes to fancy dress. Wear what you want and what you feel comfortable in. Just adding a little touch can make all of the difference. A hat, a mask, a teddy bear … if you’re not a fan of costumes explore accessories. Accessorizing can be so much fun!
Lots of people with sensory issues are sensitive to Halloween Treats. This could be because of a sensory issue or an allergy. There are 3 things I do when it comes to Halloween Treats.
Have a stash of alternative treats for anyone who may have allergies and intolerances. I also like to provide a vegan-friendly option too.
I take my child’s favourite chocolate bars and leave them with our neighbours so that they can give out a chocolate bar that they will eat and enjoy.
Always Have A Backup Plan
My backup plan is to make a pact with my kids. If there is nothing they like I encourage them to take something and I will swap it for them later. If you trick or treat early you can always use these treats to give out on your own doorstep later.
Create Your Own Traditions
When my kids were young I really wanted them to experience everything including Halloween Parties. Unfortunately, parties are loud and noisy environments so it wasn’t something we got to do. Instead of feeling upset and worrying that they were missing out, I decided to create our own traditions.
My eldest child is now 18 and the youngest is nearly 16 but we still watch the same 3 Halloween Films each year – it’s our tradition! For us, it wouldn’t be Halloween if we didn’t watch The Worst Witch, Pumpkin Moon and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Start your own traditions and trust me it will be much better than becoming overloaded at a party!
The Dreaded Door Knock!
If your house is anything like mine you may not enjoy answering the door to trick or treaters. Our family have pets and they bark and get scared so with the doorbell going every 2 minutes this can soon cause problems. So we leave a note outside asking trick or treaters to help themselves to treats from a bucket.
We Ask Them To Help Themselves
People do say that one person will just take the lot but that has never happened to us.
I have 3 buckets, one for those with intolerances, one for the chocolate lovers and one for those who prefer sweets and lollies. They aren’t big buckets and I top them up regularly rather than putting all of the treats out at once.
These are just a few of My Tips For Sensory Friendly Halloween. Do you do any of these? Maybe you have another great tip to share with us? We’d love to know what helps you get through Halloween so join our Sensory Support Group on Facebook and let us know what works for you!
For more helpful content visit our Content Hub