Halloween can be fun for the whole family but for some highly sensitive children it can be a challenge – use these tips for Trick-or-Treating with a Highly Sensitive Child
I will never forget the year that my son decided he wanted to be “something scary” instead of his usual super hero or LEGO man Halloween Costume.
He was six or seven years old and the “something scary” that he decided on was a glow in the dark skeleton – no blood or gore, but something he thought would be appropriately scary and ‘cool’.
I made him a fantastically not-to-scary glow in the dark skeleton costume using white felt and black sweats – he was comfortable in sweats and with some glow in the dark paint, the white felt had an awesome effect.
Then it was time for the face…
I painted it white, added black around the eyes, and on the nose, and did lines across his mouth to look like teeth.
Time for the big reveal – he turned to the bathroom mirror and…
STARTED CRYING HYSTERICALLY – My highly sensitive child had scared himself with his own costume!
Trick-or-Treating with a Highly Sensitive Child
This wasn’t the first time, nor the last, that we ran into problems on Halloween and I’m sure any of you that have highly sensitive kiddos can relate to the struggles that come with participating in the Trick-or-treat fun.
After trial and error, with four children, I have some Halloween tips to share with you for a positive Trick-or-Treating experience, even with a highly sensitive child.
Pick the Perfect Costume for Sensory Needs
We run into some difficulties with costumes – and not just scaring ourselves – often times they are made from materials that are too itchy or they are big and bulky making them hard to wear. Starting the night off with your child trying to compensate for their sensory needs is a recipe for disaster!
If you know your child has tactile sensory issues, choose a costume that is soft and breathable. After a few failed costumes we now try to make something work using leggings or soft sweats, there are some really creative costumes out there!
Keep it Light
One of my children are afraid of the dark. It brings on loads of anxiety. A solution to this is to go Trick-or-Treating at dusk. If you plan to be out later, take a lantern with you. Flashlights are great but a lantern will give off much more light.
You can also make the “dark” fun with glow sticks and bracelets. This is a big treat that my kids look forward to each year and they load up with as many bracelets as they can fit!
Setting limits ahead of time can help prevent the meltdowns later on. We put limits on how long we will be out or how far we will go when trick-or-treating the neighborhood. With the little ones it might be something like visiting 5 houses. Even my older children get a limit, we live on a long cul-de-sac and they know that down and back is our limit for the evening.
This is something you don’t necessarily think about ahead of time but it is ALWAYS requested. They are walking, sometimes much further than they normally would, so it only makes sense that they would request water while out trick-or-treating. Bringing a bottle of water along can be a meltdown saver!
Be Aware of Surroundings
For those that can’t handle the ‘scariness’ of the night – weather a costume or an extra spooky house – be on the lookout. If you see a spooky house, cross the street ahead of time so you don’t have to walk past it and if there is an extra scary costume heading your way it may be time to have that drink of water.
The time honored Halloween tradition is Trick-or-treating the neighborhood at night, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with other activities instead. Many churches host a safe trunk-or-treat that can be a good alternative if you have a highly sensitive child. Another option is a shopping mall – many shopping malls have a trick-or-treat option during that day, which can be even better for those little ones with too my anxiety over the dark. And if all else fails, sometimes dressing up and passing out candy with mom or dad can be all the fun that they need.
I hope these tips help you with your highly sensitive child and you all enjoy a fun and fabulous Halloween!