How To Have A Sensory-Friendly Halloween: Avoid Too Much Sensory Stimuli
It is incredibly important to understand our children’s sensory needs, especially around those holidays that can already be overwhelming for most. Unexpected or repetitive sensory input can cause your child to reach his or her sensory threshold at a much faster rate than you may expect. Your child, therefore, may experience over-stimulation and cause a fight-or-flight response!
Tip #1: Avoid Repetitive Doorbell Ringing
If you have a little one who avoids or seems to be more sensitive to sensory input, you may be planning on staying home to hand out candy rather than taking her trick-or-treating. If this is the case, try putting on a familiar movie for your child, while you set up by front door. This way you can catch any potential trick-or-treaters walking up to your house before they ring the doorbell. Unexpected or a continuously ringing doorbell may cause your child to experience sensory over-stimulation.
Tip #2: Trick-or-Treat at Familiar Houses
There are always those houses that go all out for Halloween with frightening surprises as you approach the front door. These unexpected and frightening surprises could send your child with sensory differences into a state of fight-or-flight, as it may cause him to feel out of control of his sensory systems. If you plan to take your little one out trick-or-treating, try going to familiar houses, such as those of friends or family members. You also could try trick-or-treating at houses that are handing out candy in their driveways. By selecting certain houses with people handing out candy in the driveways or homes with which your child is familiar, you can hopefully avoid the ones with those unexpected surprises!
Tip #3: Go to a Trunk-or-Treat or Mall Event
Trunk-or-treats can be found at places such as local churches, schools, and often malls have trick-or-treating events. These events can be a great alternative to traditional trick-or-treating for those with sensory differences. Trunk-or-Treats or mall events are great because they provide a more routine pattern, so the child knows exactly what to expect at each stop.
Thank you for reading How To Have A Sensory-Friendly Halloween: Avoid Too Much Sensory Stimuli.
Written by: Carleigh Brawley, MS, OTR/L
Lead Occupational Therapist