Ways for everyone to be inclusive for all abilities on Halloween
Maybe you don’t have a child with a disability, but you plan on passing out treats. When expecting trick-or-treaters there are simple ways you can better accommodate everyone involved in the fun:
Sit at the end of your driveway. If your house has stairs or you have a steep driveway, it may be challenging for some kids to knock on your door. Sitting closer to the road doesn’t only help those on crutches or in a wheelchair, but it can also feel more inviting to an anxious trick-or-treater.
Keep on outdoor lights. Cracks or bumps in the sidewalk can make navigating a path especially tricky. Bright lights can help.
Describe the candy you give out. If you notice a child is blind or has limited vision, describe the types of candy you’re offering and let them make a choice.
Give extra time. It can be difficult for children with special needs to reach quickly or accurately for a piece of candy, especially with other trick-or-treaters in the mix. Try not rush anyone through the candy picking process.
Offer non-edible treats. Remember that some children are limited in what they can eat or how they eat. Stickers, bubbles or glow sticks can be a great substitute for candy!
Be mindful of your decorations. Children with special needs may have a heightened sensitivity to loud noises, bright lights or unexpected sounds. Minimizing or turning off spooky decorations can reduce the chances of startling them.
Try not to judge. Moorehead and Steele explain that some children may not tolerate certain textures of clothing well, so they could not be wearing a costume. That doesn’t mean they should miss out on the fun! Also keep in mind that some children may not be able to say the traditional “trick-or-treat” phrase because of an anxiety or being nonverbal.