For parents of kids with disabilities, autism spectrum disorder or sensory issues, Halloween can come with not only the usual obstacles of loud noises, special effects and unusual lighting, but also with the very real challenge of finding a costume that is functional, comfortable and fun. But there are more options and inspiration out there than ever before, and we’ve collected some of our favourites.
One Place for Special Needs
One Place for Special Needs shares more than 100 “sensory-friendly” costume ideas on Pinterest, including one particularly amazing “Free Shrugs” costume. The costumes provide inspiration for DIY ensembles you can make out of your kid’s current favourite clothes, such as sweatpants, hoodies or pajamas, which is helpful for kids who have a hard time wearing new, scratchy or constricting materials.
Cotton Tail Clothing
Cotton Tail Clothing has a list of 25 straightforward DIY, sensory-friendly costume ideas, along with useful tips for how to trick-or-treat successfully with kids on the spectrum.
My favourite costume idea she shares is for a zookeeper, which involves dressing in cargo shorts and a regular T-shirt with a name tag and a stuffed animal or two. (If it’s cold outside, move the name tag from the shirt to a jacket.) Another good one, particularly for kids who wear noise-cancelling headphones, is a DJ — the child can dress in their everyday clothing, add their headphones and they’re all set. Maybe play some music from your phone as you walk with them for extra effect.
If trick-or-treating is causing more stress than fun, though, mum Peggy Gilpatric writes for Autism Speaks to consider ditching the costumes altogether and starting your own Halloween tradition:
There is still fun to be had. Maybe he can pass out the treats, be designated candy sorter, or paint pumpkins. If all of the doorbell ringing is too disturbing, turn off the porch light, build a couch tent, and watch Goosebumps or Charlie Brown.
If nothing else, the candy itself is a classic tradition.