If there’s one holiday that adds a chilling thrill to the autumn air and brings out the spirit of imagination, it’s Halloween. From pumpkin-carved decorations and eerie stories to spooky costume parties and trick-or-treating, this festive holiday sparks joy in countless young hearts.
But if you have a child with a disability, you might be wondering what to do on Halloween. Do you have to skip the fun and games and stay home? Or can your child still enjoy all the spooky happenings without feeling overwhelmed? The good news is that there are countless ways to make your child’s Halloween celebration one to remember!
Sensory-Friendly Halloween Activities
Accessible Halloween activities can make all the difference when it comes to enjoying the festive spirit. Here are some Halloween activities for kids with special needs:
Nothing screams Halloween more than decorating a pumpkin. But instead of traditional carving that involves sharp objects, kids can use puffy paints, glitter glue, or colorful markers to turn simple pumpkins into vibrant monsters, sparkling fairies, or all-around spooky masterpieces.
For a more tactile experience, provide cloth stickers, felt shapes, or furry fabrics. And don’t forget the opportunity to scoop out the pumpkin “innards”—it’s squishy and delightful!
Glow in the Dark Fun
‘Glow in the dark’ activities add a magical edge to any occasion. You can purchase glow-in-the-dark paint or markers and provide stencils for creating Halloween-themed shapes like ghosts, pumpkins, or bats. Another idea is to make bracelets or necklaces with glow-in-the-dark beads, which can provide a comforting form of visual stimulation, especially for children with visual impairments.
Halloween-Themed Sensory Bins
Sensory bins are a wonderful way to provide a structured, immersive exploration of textures and shapes. For a Halloween-themed bin, consider a variety of ghoulishly-themed squishy toys, plastic creepy crawlies, miniature foam pumpkins, and more!
You can also include items with different textures like smooth and slimy, bumpy and hard, or soft and furry to provide a variety of sensations for your little one. Don’t forget to invite their friends to this spooky soiree for a bin full of fun!
Making Halloween-themed slime can be a superb sensory activity. You can add colors like orange and black, use glitter, or include Halloween charms to give it a festive twist. Slime not only entertains children but also supports fine motor skill development and strengthens hand muscles, thanks to its malleable nature. Just make sure it’s non-toxic, and then let them go wild!
Inclusive Trick-or-Treating Tips
Trick or treat can be quite an exhilarating tradition, but for some children with disabilities, it can present unique challenges. For instance, children with limited mobility may not be able to get to houses with inaccessible entrances. Similarly, children with sensory processing disorders or autism might get startled or scared if there are sudden loud noises, dramatic lighting effects, or if costumes and decorations are extra eerie or spooky.
Below are some of the tips that you can use while trick-or-treating to make sure no one is left out and everyone enjoys their Halloween safely:
- Scout out a trick-or-treating route that offers ramps or accessible pathways, allowing easy navigation for kids with mobility aids such as wheelchairs or walkers.
- Create a simple social story outlining what to expect during trick-or-treating, from ringing doorbells to receiving candy. This can help prepare kids with social anxiety or autism for the event.
- Coordinate with neighbors to establish a “quiet hour” so that children can still enjoy the tradition at a more comfortable volume level, minimizing sensory overload or distress.
- Trade in sugary treats with non-edible prizes like stickers, toys, LEGO sets, or glow sticks for children with food allergies or special dietary needs.
- Use visual communication tools or cues to guide children who have difficulties with verbal communication during trick-or-treating activities.
- Pair up children who may need assistance with a buddy so they feel comfortable at the event. Your kid may ask them to get treats on their behalf as well. When it’s your turn, ask your kid to pass out candies to other trick-or-treaters.
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Adapted Halloween Games and Activities
What’s Halloween without games and activities? Here are some of our favorite adaptive Halloween games to keep your kids busy—and happy.
- Play pin the tail on the jack-o’-lantern or pin the nose on a witch! These games are great for fine motor skills and visual tracking skills!
- Use traffic cones to create “witch hats” and play a ring toss game. Throwing distances can be adjustable based on a child’s fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, or wheelchair mobility.
- You can also set up “ghost” pins (white painted pins with ghost faces) for a spooky bowling game. This activity is perfect for kids using canes or walkers who can push the ball to knock over pins.
- Try a Halloween ghost hunt by setting up a flashlight or two and have your child guide you through the house. They can explore all of the nooks and crannies while looking for ghosts in every corner! Another variation of the game is the candy hunt. For both of these games, make sure to clear the path for easy navigation.
- Set up a spooky face paint booth! Children can get their faces painted with their favorite Halloween characters. Make sure the paints are hypoallergenic for kids with sensitive skin.
- If your kid is a bit older, select a Halloween movie and curl up on the couch for a family movie night. Choose a spooky movie such as Hocus Pocus or Casper the Friendly Ghost. Let your kids get into character by dressing up in their favorite Halloween costumes.
- Bake cookies in various Halloween shapes, like ghosts, pumpkins, or witches’ hats, and decorate them with colorful icing. This hands-on activity is perfect for all children and can help with fine motor skills and creativity.
- If your little one is too small for baking, you can try candy corn popcorn. Simply mix popcorn with marshmallows and prepare a mixture of orange and yellow food coloring. Toss it over the popcorn for a fun, festive treat.
Costume Ideas for Different Abilities
Costumes can be a highlight of Halloween celebrations, allowing everyone a chance to step into a different character for a night. However, some materials and designs might be inconvenient or uncomfortable, especially if they restrict movement or don’t account for mobility aids.
Here are some costume ideas for different abilities:
- Transform wheelchairs into souped-up superhero vehicles. Whether it’s Batman’s Batmobile or Professor Xavier from X-Men, there are a host of possibilities.
- Adjust the wheelchair to resemble a royal carriage, and your little one can dress as a prince or princess!
- If mobility devices are in use, you convert them into a prop. For instance, drape white fabric all around a wheelchair to create a floating ghost impression, leaving adequate space for visibility and breathability.
- Alternatively, you can add a few faux bones and skulls to crutches or canes for a ghoulish, bone-chilling look. This simple idea can also transform your mobility aid into a wizard’s staff.
- For those with sensory needs who might be bothered by elaborate costumes, consider turning a plain white t-shirt into a ghost or vampire. And don’t forget to add some accessories like fake blood, bandages, and bloody handprints!
Regardless of the dress you choose, make sure it’s comfortable, tag-free (that may cause itching), safe, and doesn’t limit your child’s movement or the movement of their mobility equipment.
Boo Away Mobility Restrictions This Halloween With Clock Mobility
If you plan on taking your little one to a ghostly gala, zoo, or haunted house for a frightfully good time, it’s important to have a wheelchair-accessible vehicle to get you there safe and sound.
At Clock Mobility, we have a wide range of wheelchair-accessible vehicles, including minivans and SUVs. Our vehicles are equipped with features like wheelchair lifts and ramps that make it easier for your child to get in and out of a vehicle while providing them with the best possible view of the haunted hustle and bustle on Halloween night.