Safety Tips for Successful Halloween for Parents
Being a parent of a special needs child, you always need to be proactive against potential problems. During Halloween, it’s like walking through a minefield of food allergies, sugar, flashing lights, scary sites, loud noises, spooky shows, itchy costumes, school parties, and the trick-or-treating. Plan for the best, be ready for the unexpected! The following are the 13 safety tips for successful Halloween for a special needs child.
Thankfully those trick or treating years are over for my family. Through trial and error, I am happy to pass along some tips that worked for my child.
Kids Costumes On Halloween
1 Be Prepared if your child refuses to wear the expensive store-bought costume but still insists on trick or treating with no costume. No Problem! On the morning of Halloween dress your child in his cameo pants and green shirt. At home have an army hat waiting, accessorize with an unfilled water pistol, instantly you are ready for trick-or-treating. Or dress your child in sports sweatpants and a matching jersey, all you need to complete the outfit is a matching sports hat. Moreover, add some black marks under the eye if they allow you to paint their face.
2 Make sure you take lots of photos the first time your child tries that special costume on because they might never wear it again. The one they pestered you to buy for two months or the perfect costume you slaved over to create. However, in the child’s defense, the costume is usually itchy or can be uncomfortable for your child.
3 If your child’s costume includes accessories that are inexpensive buy two, one for a backup. On the day of Halloween if something gets lost, or breaks you have a spare bypassing any drama. If you don’t end up using the spare you can always donate or save for next year.
4 Consider if your child should be part of an ensemble group. It could motivate your child to participate in the Halloween festivities with a group. Or it could backfire if there is a Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man ready to march out the door. But no Lion since your child doesn’t want to wear the costume or go trick a treating at the last minute. Moreover, it could lead to disappointment with the other children or set off a sibling’s squabbles.
On the other hand, don’t put undue pressure on you or your child. Most importantly, you know your child best and what they can and can’t handle.
Practice to Prepare for Success
5 A few days before Halloween, practice trick or treating. Take turns with your child pretending, dropping candy in their bucket. Moreover, practice pronouncing the trick-or-treat phrase, followed by thank you. Also, explain to the child, don’t touch anything on the porch and they are not allowed inside a person’s home.
6 If your child has language delays or has trouble verbalizing trick-or-treat you can always make a sign and they can hold it up at the person’s door. My son couldn’t say the phrase, quickly I found out society expects the routine. I felt silly saying trick-or-treat to an adult. I certainly don’t want to discuss Jake’s diagnosis with strangers, in front of him. Mr. I don’t know you from Adam, my son has verbal dyspraxia, an intellectual disability with a dash of ADHD and that is why he can’t pronounce trick-or-treat. Just give us your fun-size snickers and we will be on our way. Thank you and see you next year!
7 Any Halloween candy from any school parties, we would pour out on the kitchen table and let my son see it all. He enjoyed unwrapping the shiny wrappers, lining up the skittles according to color. Maybe taking a bite out of something and then spit out. While he was busy doing that I would stash some of the candy for later. (See step 8.) When the child would leave the room, I would swipe my arm over the table and throw every piece away.
Trick-or-Trick! October 31
8 Your child refused to go trick or treating but demands the sibling’s candy. The dear brother or sister is not willing to share their loot. Avoid all that hassle, have a pre-assortment of healthy wrapped goodies along with the stash you hid from the previous school party. Now dump all of it in the child’s bucket. Everyone is happy.
9 Be prepared for the other special needs children that will arrive at your door. I have pretzels, glow sticks, even small toys that my kids have outgrown, unopened token toys along with the typical candy varieties.
10 My child feared scary houses, so we avoided each and every one.
And if my son was helping me hand out candy, we would stay near our front door so he can run inside. I would scan the sidewalks to see if any scary costumes were headed our way and warn my child.
11 Arrange for backup, make sure you have another adult or older kid helping you with the festivities. If your child flat-out refuses to go, plan on either you or the extra person stays home and the adult can take the other children to trick or treating. Divide and conquer!
12 Personally I always avoided the whole trip to the mall or town special trick-or-treating event. Sometimes they can be on Halloween or a week before. I didn’t want to tack on another Halloween event.
Besides store/malls could over stimulate my son and then the saying no to buying things.
Just make sure you don’t drive or walk through town on that special trick or treating day. I didn’t want my child to feel like they are missing something. Or if one child wants to go and the other doesn’t find someone to take one of the kids.
I know if you live in the country and houses are far apart the mall would be an excellent option. You could practice mall etiquette beforehand.
13 Make notes on what worked and what didn’t work so next year you will be even better prepared.
I hope these tips help your family not only get through Halloween but actually have some fun!
Please include in the comments any tips or tricks that have worked for you. Comment me if you have any questions about safety tips for a successful Halloween.
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