Halloween is a fun time for both kids and parents. It also has a certain amount of built-in scariness and spookiness which is part of what makes Halloween so special. All children need to be kept safe while they go around trick or treating, including kids with special needs. So, if you are the parent of a special needs youngster, here are ten tips to help them enjoy Halloween in safety.
Choose the Right Costume
Pick an outfit so that your child can easily be seen in the dark. Avoid the many Halloween costumes that are black – pick a colored witch costume for example. A good idea is to attach reflective tape to their costume or wheelchair. They could also carry a flashlight or a glow stick.
Don’t Pick an Oversized Costume
Make sure the costume does not involve something so long, such as a cape, that it may trip up your child. Spend a short time with a needle and thread to shorten it. Also check that your child wears comfortable, non-slip shoes.
Be Attentive to Hoods or Masks
If your special needs kid has a Halloween costume involving a hood or mask (think superheroes), check that it doesn’t obscure their vision. You don’t want them falling on steps as they go from house to house.
Make Sure the Costume Doesn’t Irritate
Some children with special needs are extra sensitive to sensory stimulation. If this is the case, pay attention to the feel of the fabric, whether the costume is too tight, and if it makes a crinkly noise when the child moves. To save having to return unsuitable attire, bring your child along when shopping.
Select a Flame Retardant Costume
Halloween comes with fire danger in the form of lit-up pumpkins, glowing candles, and bonfires. Make sure your child with special needs wears a Halloween costume that is flame retardant.
Pay Attention to the Weather
Fall weather can be chilly so dress your special needs kid in warm layers under their costume. Gloves to match the outfit will keep their small hands cozy and warm.
Rehearse the Route
Doing a test run of the trick-or-treat route in the daylight is a smart idea. If your child is somewhat familiar with the way, it will help ensure they don’t get lost in the dark. You can also teach your youngster to stick to the sidewalks and cross any roads safely.
Get a Buddy
If you have a really young special needs child, it’s best to have an adult accompany them. If your kid is a bit older, you may want to send them out with a responsible older sibling or friend. Set a time for them to come home and make sure someone has a cell phone.
Teach Halloween Safety and Etiquette
Teach your kid to be polite as doors are opened and they call out “Trick or Treat.” Good manners include taking only one piece of candy unless invited to do otherwise and always saying thank you. Instruct your child not to go inside someone’s home and not to eat any candy until you have checked it.
Have a Conversation
Skeletons, goblins, witches, fake blood, spooky sounds, sometimes a full moon – oh my! Prepare your special needs child for this experience by chatting about it in advance. Give them an idea of what to expect and encourage them to understand that it’s all part of Halloween fun.
Care for Your Special Needs Child at Home
Caring Health Care provides the best in-home care for special needs children in the Columbia South Carolina area. So if you need help with your special needs kid at Halloween or at any other time, don’t hesitate to give us a call.