Halloween Tips

halloween tips

Halloween can be very overwhelming due to the different sights and sounds as well as interactions with strangers. Here are helpful tips for families of individuals with and without disabilities. 

Safety First

  • Use flashlights and stay close together in a group.
  • Use sidewalks.
  • Only approach homes with a porch light on.
  • Go to homes of familiar people.
  • If the individual has a sensory sensitivity, go trick or treating earlier in the evening.


  • Let the individual’s interests show through when selecting a costume.
  • Use reflective tape on costumes.
  • If the individual uses a wheelchair, incorporate it into the costume.
  • Put the costume on ahead of time to adjust for sensory needs (themed pajamas may be a sensory pleasing option)
  • Practice moving around in the costume.
  • Face paint or no mask is better than wearing a mask.
  • Avoid carrying additional items like spears, swords, and wands.

Homeowners Passing Out Treats

  • Move to a more accessible place like the bottom of porch stairs.
  • Offer candy-free options – stickers, Halloween-themed trinkets, pencils, glow bracelets etc. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a simple way to make trick-or-treating safer and more inclusive for the one in 13 children living with food allergies, and many others impacted by intolerances and other conditions. Placing a teal pumpkin on your doorstep signals that, in addition to candy, you offer non-food trinkets and treats that are safe for all trick or treaters.
  • Be patient.
  • Be willing to accept older individuals.
  • Keep pets inside.
  • Do not distract service dogs.
  • For individuals who are visually impaired, describe what you have available.
  • If the individual has autism or is non-verbal, they may carry a “blue” pumpkin bucket to signal they have communication needs and may not say “trick or treat” or “Thank you.”
  • An individual taking more than one piece of candy may have fine motor needs.
  • An individual taking a while to choose their candy may have motor planning needs.
  • An individual without a costume may have sensory needs.

Parents/Caregivers Supporting An Individual

  • Teach expectations ahead of time – use a social story.
  • Talk about real and pretend concepts.
  • Be aware of the individual’s actions – be able to judge whether the environment is overstimulating and return home if the individual is overwhelmed. (They may only want to go to 2-3 houses and then they are done.)
  • Some individuals prefer to hand out the treats from their home (a safe place) versus trick or treating.
  • If the individual is non-verbal, use a device or picture symbols to say, “Trick or Treat” and “Thank you”.