Reminders: Halloween and kids with Special Needs

Please be accepting of all children who arrive at your front door on Halloween because sometimes they are struggling with hidden challenges and the act of trick or treating doesn't come easily to them. They are thankful in their hearts and minds even if they may not tell you!

  • The child who are grabbing more than one piece of candy may have poor fine motor skills.

  • The child who takes forever to pick out 1 piece of candy may have poor motor planning issues.

  • The child who does not say, "Trick-or-treat," or "Thank you!" may be painfully shy, non-verbal, or selectively mute for reasons other than poor manners. These parents often will help speak for their child but often will wait until they've given pause so the child has a chance to try. If you cannot understand their words, they may struggle with developmental apraxia of speech or have speech challenges.

  • The child who looks disappointed when they see your bowl of goodies may have a severe or life-threatening food allergy. Please don't force candy into their bag.

  • The child who isn't wearing a costume may have a sensory issue (Sensory Processing Dysfunction or Sensory Integration Disorder) or Autism. Please be just as nice when no costume is worn.

  • The child that "skips" your house may be unable to navigate the path to your door due to poor large motor control or may be afraid of your music or decorations. If a child wants to visit your house but seems scared or nervous you could help by lowering the volume or turning on more lights so they can see better and feel comfortable.

  • They are thankful in their hearts and minds. These children may not look you in the eye or act the same but they still deserve to be included.

  • Please keep in mind that a lot of little people may be visiting your home. If you leave your porch light on, please be accepting, patient, & kind. Make a parent feel good by making a big deal of their special child. Those parents just want go see their child enjoy life & get to take part like everyone else.

Tips and Reminders

  • Consider giving something besides candy like stickers, glow sticks or bubble bottles.

  • Get down and be at the kids’ level when giving out your treats.

  • Practice patience for kids who take an extra long time

  • Smile at everyone without expecting a Thank You or Trick or Treat back

If you can make a parent with a special needs child at ease you’ll be giving a treat beyond candy!

Here’s an interesting article about Halloween from a mom with a child with autism. As she says:

"Be patient friends," she said. "Kiddos like Super Cooper don't know 'what' they are supposed to do or 'why' they are even doing it. Trick-or-treating is strange in general. Then add in costumes, sugar, people, noises, excitement, and a crazy brother and the whole situation gets escalated quickly. If you see me, know that I am sweating buckets and trying to hold it together. We love smiles and understanding and when you say hi!"

Be Kind. Be Patient. It's everyone's Halloween!  

Photo courtesy of Unplash: Bee Felten-Leidel