SENSORY PROCESSING: Tricks for Making Halloween a Treat for Kids with Sensory Disorders Sensory

Tricks for Making Halloween a Treat for Kids with Sensory Disorders

Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.

For most of us, Halloween means chilly weather, leaves crunching under our feet and a good excuse to dress up and celebrate. We might stress a little over getting the costumes our kids are dying to have, getting to the school party on time or who is passing out candy and who is braving the cold for trick-or-treating. It’s all manageable stress though when we get a taste of our kids’ excitement. But for the children who have any kind of sensory disorder, Halloween can mean distress, anxiety and meltdowns.

Tricks for Making Halloween a Treat for Kids with Sensory Disorders | ilslearningcorner.com

Many of the little details that make Halloween what it is can be a major stressor for kids with sensory disorders. Flashing strobe lights, itchy costumes, unfamiliar homes and people, fog machines or even loud spooky music and sounds. The list of culprits is as unique as the variety of children affected by sensory disorders. And some of these can be nerve-wracking for other children too.

Tricks and Treats

But Halloween doesn’t have to be all stress and no fun. After all, the walking around is a great way to tame the stress brought on by the sensory overload. So whether you have a Sensory Sensitive child or not, here are some tricks to keeping the treats a part of Halloween.

Tricks for Making Halloween a Treat for Kids with Sensory Disorders | ilslearningcorner.com

Costumes

Costumes are a huge thing to consider when it comes to keeping Sensory Kids comfortable and calm on Halloween. Most pre-made costumes are made with itchy fabrics and aren’t always sewn straight, creating uncomfortable seams and all around discomfort. For some kids, it’s enough to add some soft (and preferably warm) clothing underneath. For others, it may help to devise costumes out of clothes or fabrics you know they’re already comfortable with. And as strange as it may seem, costumes with a little weight behind them can also help ground your sensory child and help them feel secure (think in terms of a weighted blanket). It’s also wise to avoid things like make up, face paint and masks. They can be irritating to the skin and eyes.

Familiarize

This tip is simple enough. Keep to routes and houses your child is familiar with. It wouldn’t hurt to even walk or drive the route you plan to take ahead of time so they know what to expect. Also familiarize them with their costume ahead of time. If they’ve had a chance to wear it for a while, they can point out any adjustments that need to be made ahead of time and you don’t have to worry about cutting the night short because of wardrobe issues.

Set guidelines

Just like setting the route, it’s good to plan with your child when they want to start and stop celebrating and to determine behavior expectations. Knowing what to expect is huge for helping these sweet kids avoid meltdowns. With setting time guidelines, it’s good to give them a way to keep track of the time or give them substantial warnings before its time to wrap things up.

Follow their cues

Even with setting guidelines, it’s a good plan to follow their cues. Sometimes they’re going to let you know they’ve had enough, but many times these kids aren’t going to realize they’ve exceeded their limits until you’re facing a tantrum or meltdown. So set up a system, whether you use code words or just have an understanding that either of you can let the other know that it’s time to wrap things up ahead of schedule.

Tricks for Making Halloween a Treat for Kids with Sensory Disorders | ilslearningcorner.com

Make new traditions

If your child is still too overwhelmed by the idea of Halloween parties or trick-or-treating, or the sugar overload is too much, you can keep the holiday fun by starting your own traditions. Halloween movie or book marathons with Halloween themed healthy snacks are activities your child can look forward to. Sensory bags or bottles would be only too easy to turn Halloween themed. Carving pumpkins and getting a feel for their guts and seeds just like you see here in our Halloween sensory activities series can be stimulating as well as good for a few funny faces and giggles. You can also try our Where’s Waldo Pumpkin Spice play dough, have a monster hunt, or create a sensory bag with your pumpkin guts. And it never hurts to get creative and turn their favorite sensory activities into a monster mash.

Sensory Blog Hop - The Sensory Spectrum | ilslearningcorner.com #sensory

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo! Want to join in on next month’s Sensory Blog Hop? Click here!

Tricks for Making Halloween a Treat for Kids with Sensory Disorders | ilslearningcorner.com


Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs


Comments

  1. Such good tips! It’s important for those little ones with sensory issues to be able to join in on the fun as well:)

  2. Great ideas, and flexible too <3
    Love,
    FSM
    P.S. Could you invent a mask that doesn't hurt the face yet covers the eyes enough to limit visual assaults? Thanks 😉

  3. Great tips! We started our own tradition of a quiet dress up movie night handing out healthier options while staying inside our own cozy home. It works for us…but at first it was an interesting adjustment!:) Loved all your advice.

    • That’s great! I love that you’ve started your own tradition. I can see where it would be an adjustment at first, but I bet it is really fun and works well now. I know I would love that tradition at my house!

  4. […] having a great time with Fox 13’s The Place talking about fun Halloween sensory activities to encourage sensory learning for kids with sensory overload, meltdowns at holiday parties, […]

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