By Gena Mann
Ahhhh, Halloween, every parent's favorite fall holiday, a chance to show off your Pinterest-ready costume making skills and your adorable princesses and superhero...unless you are the parent of a special needs child. For me, each October since my kids were little I have struggled with the desire to give my son the "typical" childhood experience of dressing up and asking for candy and the anxiety of, will he have a meltdown after house number 1? Walk into a strangers house for candy and not leave? Make a run for it down the block? Embarrass his siblings?
Here are five Halloween hacks that have worked for me over the years that have made this holiday an actual treat:
1. Find a sensory friendly costume: No masks, no hats, nothing itchy or constricting, something that fits nicely over normal clothes—a cape or some butterfly wings will go a long way. (Shop our favorites below).
2. Aim low: Plan to hit 3-5 houses instead of 20, or 5 apartments on your floor, keep backup candy at home if you feel badly that he didn't get enough but feel proud that he could ring a bell five times and walk away with one piece from each door.
3. Practice, practice, practice: Several times before the big day, trick or treat room to room in your house, at a friend's or relatives or at your own door.
4. Bring reinforcements: A spouse, a babysitter, your best friend, your sibling, a para from school-don’t try to do it alone (goes for most scenarios with a special needs child, not just trick or treating), another adult will keep the mood lighter, allow you to laugh instead of cry if it doesn’t go as you hope, and if you are out with more than one child, to divide and conquer.
5. "Listen" to your child: Halloween and trick or treating are not for every child. If you know the experience will be sensory overload or extremely anxiety provoking for your child, put aside your own desires for the "typical" experience, pop open a bag of candy corns and stay home. Always try your best to set your child up for success. If you know it will be a disaster, resist the urge to do it. Next year they may be ready.
The Land of Nod's Butterfly Princess Dress Up costume features a pair of glittering wings and sparkling skirt. It's the perfect combo for fluttering through their neighborhood.
Your little one can save the day in this cool Tiger Cape. It's made from natural cotton and eco friendly ink, they'll want to wear it every day.
Wild Wings Dress up set features a pair of beautiful bird wings, so your little one can spend their afternoon zipping to every house and scoring all the treats they can.
This Bat Costume set features a pair of bat wings, so your little one can spend their afternoons zipping through the night and eating all the insects and candy they can. Well, maybe not the insects part.
The soft mesh layers and cotton voile lining make these ombré Tutus perfect for a ballerina costume. The stretchy, elastic waist makes them incredibly comfortable for sensory-sensitive kids.
Grab these handcrafted Butterfly Wings and let your little adventurer soar into the land of wild imaginations, where creativity and learning have no boundaries. Each wing set is handmade with super soft felt fabric!
In a Firebird costume your child will be ready to soar. A bright bird costume in fall vibrant colors is perfect for Halloween and imaginative play.
Dress-up costumes are great for imaginative play and speech and language development. Follow us on Pinterest to see more costume ideas and Halloween treats.