Preparing for the sights and sounds of Trick or Treat

Managing the sensory overload of Trick or Treat – A teli occupational therapist offers some ways to help your child from feeling overwhelmed by the evening festivities!
Trick or Treat – Planning ahead to insure it is really a treat!
by Alex Beschorner, Occupational Therapist
From masks, to itchy costumes, to greasy face paint, to crowds of scary creatures, trick or treating on Halloween can be a sensory overload for anyone, but especially for a kiddo experiencing sensory differences and issues. There are many options for helping your child with sensory differences have a safe and happy Halloween.

  • First, think about skipping the store bought costume and instead, re-vamping a comfy sweat suit with fabric markers, iron-on designs, or even by sewing on wings. Your child could also wear a base-layer (think Under Armor or long underwear) to prevent contact with seams or scratchy fabric.
  • Consider using sensory strategies that work well for your child at home. He or she could wear a weighted backpack (which could be further weighted down with all of that candy!), carry a glowstick or a flashlight while walking around, or allow use of a chewy tube or other oral motor device for calming (or allow your child to eat a few pieces of chewy candy, if he or she can do so safely).
  • Try creating a visual schedule with pictures of the different activities in order to prepare your child for the eventful evening.
  • Lastly, you know your child best, and opting out of trick or treating might be what is best for them. Many children enjoy attending Halloween parties (with not-so-scary guests) or giving out candy to the other trick or treaters from the safety of his or her own homes.