Steps to a Successful Inclusive Halloween

Halloween can be a challenging time when you have a child with special needs. It can be especially challenging for kids with sensory processing difficulties. There are so many different and new sensory triggers during this time including big crowds, loud and scary noises, uncomfortable costumes, and much more. It can be hard to avoid the triggers that may be in unexpected places. You don’t have to avoid Halloween altogether, instead let’s work towards an inclusive Halloween. Below are some tips to make Halloween easier and hopefully more fun!


  1. The Costume: If your kid wants to wear a costume, try it out a few days before. This way, you can fix any scratchy material, itchy tags, or weird fitting parts. Have them wear it for a little while to make sure that they will be fine in that costume. You can also have them wear comfortable clothing underneath the costume so that different parts do not rub against their skin. Pack an extra costume just in case their first one does not work for them.
  2. Trick or Treating: Make a plan for the trick or treating route that fits your kid’s needs. Maybe that is a less crowded area, more familiar route, or houses that have fewer decorations and noises. Planning a second route may be beneficial just incase the first route doesn’t fit your kid’s needs.
  3. The Noises and Decorations: These sensations are unfamiliar and can be overwhelming. You can practice being around them by going to a store with a Halloween aisle. Your kid can practice by pressing the buttons to hear the Halloween noises, touch the different decorations, and look at the bright lights. This can also help you figure out what ones to avoid during Halloween celebrations.
  4. Pumpkin Carving: The slimy texture and unique smell of the inside of a pumpkin can be hard for those that are sensitive to those stimuli. If they want to decorate pumpkins, you can still make jack-o-lanterns. You can decorate your pumpkins without carving them by decorating them with markers, painting them, gluing on decorations, and using stickers.
  5. The Candy: If your child has food sensitivities or allergies, you can plan ahead by getting toys or other items that you can trade them for the candy that they got. Ask them ahead of time what they would want to trade for so that they happily trade off their treats.


Halloween can be a stressful time but we hope that these tips can help limit the stress and increase the fun. Share with us some of your tips to help create an inclusive Halloween.

Emma Benner

Emma Benner

Social Media Intern

Emma is a student-athlete at Purdue University majoring in Kinesiology and on the cross country and track and field teams. She has been involved in the special needs community for many years as a coach with Special Olympics Minnesota, and  as a personal care assistant/respite sitter. She has worked in media, marketing, and journalism with various organizations. When Emma has some free time, she enjoys riding horses (she grew up doing barrel racing), baking doughnuts and cake pops (yum!), pursuing her new art interest (wood burning, painting, or drawing), or going for a long fun in sunny weather (her favorite!).