Halloween is supposed to be a little scary, but it can be downright terrifying for special needs kids and their parents who must find a way to navigate mobility issues, dietary concerns and sensory overload — all while still enjoying the fun.
Costumes. Fortunately, there are lots of great costume ideas for kids with special needs. Google "wheelchair costumes," and you get a ton of great ideas including a kayaker, a drummer, a construction worker, Cinderella in her coach or this Darth Vader number. Halloween is Here has a good list of costume ideas for kids who walk with a cane or crutches.
For kids with sensory issues who can't handle the feeling of costumes, masks or makeup, there are plenty of costume ideas that you can create from your kids' normal clothes. Think hippie, construction worker, politician, safari guide or skeleton (use white tape to create "bones" on a black shirt and pants.)
Trick or treating. Kids with special needs may have a harder time understanding the steps of trick-or-treating, so it's a good idea to practice these ahead of time. One Place for Special Needs has a trick-or-treating social story that helps kids learn what to expect on Halloween night.
Special diets. Kids with juvenile diabetes, Celiac disease or food allergies tend to feel left out when it comes to school snacks and friends' parties. It would be nice if your child could eat whatever is handed out, but it's unlikely that most folks will have gluten-free, sugar-free, dye-free treats on hand. Still, that doesn't mean that your child has to miss out on the Halloween fun. Let her trick-or-treat and accept whatever treats are given. Then trade those treats for a safe supply of goodies once you get home.
Do you have any more tips for celebrating Halloween with a special needs child? Please share them in the comments below.
Related Halloween ideas on MNN: How to host a Halloween costume swap