Spooktacular Halloween Eating Tips for Kids with Sensory Sensitivities

Halloween is a time for spooky fun, costumes, and sweet treats. However, for children with sensory issues, the sights, sounds, and textures of Halloween can pose significant challenges. To help your child enjoy this holiday while managing their sensory sensitivities, consider these tips and practical examples:

1. Costume Comfort:

Many Halloween costumes are itchy, restrictive, or have masks that can be distressing. Opt for comfortable, sensory-friendly costumes made from soft materials. Consider costumes without masks or modify them for a cozy fit. For instance, if your child wants to be a mummy, choose soft bandages made from cloth instead of scratchy materials.

2. Sensory-Friendly Spookiness:

Traditional Halloween decorations can be overwhelming with their loud, animated displays and eerie sounds. Decorate your home with sensory-friendly options like soft lighting and familiar, kid-friendly decorations. Think about creating a friendly Halloween theme using non-scary characters. For example, use friendly ghosts, smiling pumpkins, and cute monsters as decorations.

3. Treat Transitions:

Some Halloween treats may not align with your child’s sensory preferences due to textures or flavours. Offer sensory-friendly treats such as gummy snacks, fruit leathers, or yogurt-covered raisins. Involve your child in the selection or preparation of these treats to make it a more enjoyable experience. Create fun Halloween-themed treats that align with your child’s preferences, like ghost-shaped sandwiches using soft bread.

4. Noise and Crowds:

Halloween events often involve loud noises, large crowds, and chaotic environments. Seek out sensory-friendly or quieter Halloween activities in your area. You can also plan a low-key celebration at home, inviting a small group of friends or family for a calm and enjoyable Halloween experience.

5. Visualize the Schedule:

The unpredictability of Halloween can be distressing for kids with sensory issues, who may struggle with changes in routine. Create a visual schedule that outlines Halloween activities, including choosing a costume, trick-or-treating, and returning home. This allows your child to anticipate each step and reduces anxiety.

6. Practice Makes Perfect:

Trying new activities like trick-or-treating can be challenging for kids with sensory sensitivities. Prior to Halloween, practice the activities your child may find difficult. For example, take them for a walk in their costume, simulate trick-or-treating at home, or engage in sensory play with Halloween-themed sensory bins.

7. Respect Personal Boundaries:

Some Halloween traditions may be unappealing to your child due to sensory sensitivities. Respect your child’s boundaries and gradually introduce activities. For instance, if carving a pumpkin is uncomfortable, allow them to touch the pumpkin’s surface and gradually progress to handling the seeds and carving.

8. Halloween Food Fun:

Many Halloween foods can have unusual textures and appearances that may be off-putting for children with sensory sensitivities. Get creative with Halloween-themed snacks that are both fun and sensory-friendly. For example, make monster toast with green guacamole, olive eyes, and red pepper mouths or spider-shaped sandwiches with soft bread and cheese legs.

 

By applying these tips, you can help your child enjoy Halloween while managing their sensory sensitivities, especially in the context of Halloween foods, routine changes, and sensory challenges.

Join our mailing list for ongoing support and stay tuned for our upcoming program with Grace a children’s Occupational Therapist from the Sensory Submarine. Together, we can make mealtimes an enriching experience for your child! You’ll also be the first to know about our comprehensive sensory program, designed to empower both children and parents in navigating sensory challenges all year round. Together, we’ll make every holiday, including Halloween, a memorable and enjoyable experience.

 

Written by Dr Kirsty Porter, Children’s Dietitian

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