Halloween is an exciting time for many kids! However for some children with sensory processing challenges it can be difficult to participate in all of the activities. Here are 3 quick tips from our Pediatric Occupational Therapist to keep in mind this Halloween:
- Costume Choice
Be sure to pick a costume that your child feels comfortable in! Many kids with Sensory Processing difficulties can be sensitive to different textures of fabrics or masks/make-up on their face. Be attentive to your child’s needs – if they want to wear their favourite outfit that makes them feel most comfortable, do that! Another great option to ensure comfort is to find a comfortable onesie that is decorated as an animal. Bonus points – it might even keep them a little warmer on a chilly October evening!
If you plan on trick-or-treating, be aware of the different anxieties a child may feel around this activity. The act of approaching a stranger’s house where there are unexpected (and often scary) decorations, lots of people around, in the dark! That’s a lot of information to process. It can be an anxiety provoking activity for all ages!
Try to front-load the experience with a social story (What is a social story?), or practice going to friends/families houses before-hand so they know what to expect. Many malls also offer trick-or-treating indoors, which may be a more comfortable experience for your child. Other kids enjoy the act of giving out candy to their neighbours when they come to the door, or trick-or-treating at houses they are familiar with (friends/family/classmates).
3. Decorations & Celebrations
As you have probably experienced, many neighbours may decorate their homes and sidewalks with spooky decorations, or even animatronic/robotic decorations that can make noise or move. In addition, it is not uncommon to hear firecrackers or fireworks.
The best way to prepare your child is to front-load the experience by reading social stories, or showing videos of what to expect. You can always do a daytime neighbourhood walk to show the decorations in the daylight where they may not seem as scary to help prepare your child.
Whatever you decide to do this Halloween: Be safe and Have fun! We love seeing all your creative costumes – if you’re posting any fun Halloween Pictures, use the hashtag #WiggleKids for a chance to win a Halloween treat!