Five Ways to Make Halloween an Inclusive Holiday

Halloween is one of the best nights of the year, for not only tiny children but not us big kids as well! Despite all the fun and magic of the night, there is something very important to keep in mind in order to make sure that Halloween is a fun time for EVERYONE. Children with disabilities often have a hard time with events such like trick or treating- whether it be because of sensory, physical or mental implications. Every child deserves to enjoy any holiday- especially this one coming right around the corner. Some of the most important people in my life are living with diagnosed disabilities. I want to give you five pieces of advice on how to accommodate those children, as well as any child at all this coming Halloween. With these tips in mind, we can all work together to ensure a safe and enjoyable night for all children despite any differing abilities they may have.

 

1.Refrain from questioning or commenting on why a young child may not be wearing a costume.

Some children do not feel comfortable wearing costumes, and they may find them irritating or undesirable against their skin. Children may have sensory issues- and they prefer to trick or treat wearing clothes that make them feel safe and comfortable. Saying things like, “where is your costume- only little kids with costumes get candy!”, even if they are a joke- can be hurtful to the child and the guardians complying them. They want the best for their child and in some cases that may consist of making sure they feel secure and happy in what they are wearing- so we have no right to comment on it, nor should we need to.

 

2. If you are wearing a mask and a child seems scared or too nervous to approach you- remove the mask and show them you are not so scary after.

All children are afraid of the unknown- but even something as simple as a mask that is not scary- may trigger a child with a disability- and they may not be able to communicate how they are feeling in safe ways. They may use their bodies or put themselves in danger by running away if they are frightened and cannot yet communicate in other forms.

 

3. Be understanding of the fact that sometimes a child may not be able to say, “trick or treat”.  

For example, a child with Autism may have not yet developed their verbal communication skills. They are trying their best, so make sure to acknowledge that. Children with disabilities ask nothing more of you than to be understanding and patient with them and the things that they do differently. It is not a hard task- and we need to be willing to support and help these children enjoy their night just like all of the others.

 

4. Try handing out the candy rather than having the children pick some out of a bucket.

Some children have not yet mastered motor skills, and others may not be able to move certain parts of their body at all. Accommodation is key- and it is important to use your best judgement on who needs some assistance picking out their treats.

 

5. Treat every child with the same sense of respect, compassion, love and Halloween spirit!

Every single trick or treater deserves to have a magical night filled with lots of candy, fun and great memories- and we need to help make this possible for children of every different kind of abilities. IT is crucial that we be aware this Halloween of trick or treaters who wind up at our doorstep- and just remember that one person can make a difference in anyone child’s life. Be the difference, be aware, and make inclusion happen not only during this holiday, but during all of them throughout the year.