What You Need to Know about Special Needs Kids and Halloween

Halloween. In some neighborhoods, it’s a bigger deal than Christmas. I live in one of those neighborhoods. Almost every house is adorned with tombstones, spiders, ghosts, and skeletons. We know which streets to hit up, where the wine is served and who gives out the whole chocolate bars.

For months, Jakob’s been preparing for his role as Ironman and been asking when we’re going to put up our decorations. But here’s the thing: I hate Halloween. I think it’s grotesque. Not only that, but I hate the dark.

Yes, I’m a grown adult who hates the dark. It unnerves me and makes me anxious. Add ghosts and goblins to the mix and I’m a mess. So, when I think about my eight-year-old and my six-year-old out on the streets Halloween night, I can’t help but wonder how they feel about it. Do they not like it either and are just making the sacrifice for the big bag of candy that will accompany them back to the safety of our home? Or do they just not notice?

Have zombies and death become normalized in our society? Either way, I do know that there are some children for whom Halloween presents some unique challenges.

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Editor’s Note: The following has been floating around blogs and social media for a few years and we are unable to find the original source to give proper credit. Feel free to contact us if you know the source and we’ll give the original author credit.

As we approach Halloween night, here are some things to keep in mind about all the little visitors that will come knocking.

The child who comes knocking may have a language delay or be non-verbal and have trouble saying “Trick-or-treat” or “thank you.”

The child who comes knocking may have poor fine motor skills and
accidentally grab three pieces of candy, not just one.

The child who comes knocking and isn’t wearing a costume may have a sensory issue (SPD) or autism.

The child who comes knocking may look disappointed when they see your bowl because they have an allergy or diabetes.

The child who comes knocking and takes a long time to decide on a piece of candy may have motor-planning issues.

Halloween can be fun if we remember that it is a child’s day too. Please be patient and kind.

I have one more thing to say about Halloween. Remember UNICEF boxes? They used to give them out at school and you would tie it around your neck. Hosts would know not only to have a bowl of candy but a bowl of change as well. Whatever happened to that?

I feel like it taught children that there is more to life than candy. Halloween is National UNICEF day but while you can still order UNICEF boxes in the US, UNICEF Canada suggested that instead, you purchase survival gifts. Take a look and consider talking to your children this Halloween about kids who are less fortunate and can’t just go up to doors asking for candy, let alone roam the streets.

Wishing everyone a fun and safe Halloween!
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