Halloween Tips & Tricks: A Guide for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Halloween Tips & Tricks: A Guide for Parents of Children with Special Needs


Will your special needs child require a little extra support this October to have fun trick-or-treating? If so, you are not alone.

Here is a list of some tips and tricks that may help improve the experience!

A Comfortable Costume.

  • For children with mobility needs, reduce tripping hazards and wheelchair snags by skipping the loose and bulky costumes.
  • Choose comfortable footwear that they already wear.
  • If your child is particular about fabrics and textures, consider making a costume using regular clothes rather than itchy store-bought ones.

Have a Plan.

  • Choose a safe and accessible area. Look for wheelchair ramps or even a quick escape route in case your child wants to wrap up the evening early.
  • Skip the houses and routes that may be too challenging (e.g., long driveways, scary decorations).
  • Talk to your neighbors about accommodating an earlier time or an alternative treat (even if you provide it to them).
  • Consider having a wagon to carry extra things or for your child when they get tired.

Prep and Practice.

  • Prepare your child for what to expect (e.g. scary masks or loud sounds) by reviewing expectations and practicing the plan ahead of time.
  • Possibly show them pictures or videos of children trick-or-treating too!
  • Try on the costume several times.
  • Don’t forget to practice the trick-or-treat door routine (“trick-or-treat” and “thank you”!)

Get Creative.

  • Can’t do Candy? Bring a bag of your own treats and reverse the trick-or-treat rules. If your child wants to get the candy, consider swapping their treat with an alternative (e.g. pencils or juice boxes) before it enters the bag.
  • After the big day, look for candy donation locations to send extra sweet treats.

Consider Alternatives.

  • Going house-to-house might not be right for your child. Look for alternative events in your community such as trunk-or-treats or town initiatives.
  • Staying home and giving candy can be just as fun too!

Make it Fun.

  • Set goals so having fun remains the main objective.
  • Try not to pressure yourself or your child into situations that may be too uncomfortable or scary. You know your child.
  • Give them the choice and allow them to skip the houses that might be too challenging.
  • Dress up with them. Be silly and laugh a lot!

Most Importantly – Have Fun!