Halloween and Special Needs Children

Halloween can be a frightfully fun time, or just plain scary. Children with special needs often feel left out, and parents can be at a lost on how to help them participate and have fun. If you are one of those parents, here are some ideas to help make Halloween happy, fun and safe for all.

Children with Disabilities
If you are finding it difficult to come up with great costume ideas for your child because of his wheelchair, walker or crutches, find some inspiration in a quick on-line search. The Bridge School has some fabulous ideas with instructions included, on how to transform your child into a flowerbed, a chef, a cowboy and more. It is very important to make sure any costume you put on your child does not interfere with his mobility. Make sure it won’t get caught in wheels and that it is short enough to keep your child from tripping over it.

Children with Autism
Children with autism often find certain fabrics and materials uncomfortable and will refuse to wear them. If this is the case with your child, store-bought Halloween costumes will probably be completely out of the question due to their harshness. A simple pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt can be turned into a costume for your child in which he is comfortable and happy.

Children with Auto-Immune Conditions
For parents of children with auto-immune conditions or chronic conditions like cystic fibrosis, all the doorbells and handrails are the scariest part of the night. So many dirty fingers ringing the doorbell before your child does, leaves an open door for germs. Be sure to carry hand sanitizer or wipes to clean your child’s hands from time to time and lessen the chances of your child becoming sick.

Children with Asthma
Be aware of what triggers your child’s asthma and keep an eye out for them. Don’t allow your child to enter homes as this can open the door to cigarette smoke and molds that can cause asthma attacks. Wash costumes before wearing, especially if they have been stored in the attic or basement as mold and mildew could have grown on them. And of course, don’t forget the epinephrine pen if your child has one.

Children with Allergies
For children with allergies, especially nut allergies, Halloween can be tricky. The amount of candy that parents have to weed through is overwhelming. Try trick-or-treating at the homes of families who are prepared for children with allergies, like your family members and friends. Do your part to include children with severe food allergies by offering alternatives at your own home, such as stickers or candies without nuts.

Children with Speech and Language Delays
For children who are having difficulty talking, Halloween can be a great opportunity to get them to practice their developing skills. Prepare your child by having him describe his costume to you. This will help him not only get excited for Halloween, but to express his thoughts and use his words. When the day arrives, your child may be more likely to talk and speak clearly about his costume to all those who ask about it.

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About Nancy

I am a freelance writer focused on parenting children with special needs. My articles have been featured in numerous parenting publications and on www.parentingspecialneeds.org. I am the former editor and publisher of Vermont HomeStyle Magazine. I am a wife and mom to a two daughters, one with cystic fibrosis and one who is a carrier for cystic fibrosis.