7 Tips for a Sensory-Friendly Halloween

4 minute read

Written by

Rita Sverdlova, OTR/L

Halloween can be a sensory overload, but it doesn't have to be! It’s a time for creativity and fun, and that should include children with sensory sensitivities. Embracing the uniqueness of your child's preferences and interests can make for a memorable and sensory-friendly experience for your child! This Halloween, consider these seven creative tips to ensure a sensory-friendly celebration for your child.

DIY Costume Magic

Instead of buying a costume off the shelf, create a DIY costume that you and your child design together. This allows you to tailor the costume to their sensory needs. Think soft fabrics, loose fits, and creative accessories keeping comfort in mind. It's not just a costume; it's a collaborative work of art. Practice wearing the costume before Halloween to help them acclimate. Open-Face options that allow the child’s face to be uncovered may be more comfortable for them than a full-face mask or costume. Remember to ask for their input and have them be part of the process!

Sensory-Friendly Candy Alternatives

Not all treats have to be candy. Offer sensory-friendly alternatives like stickers, small toys, or even glow-in-the-dark bracelets. These surprises can be just as exciting for children and help them avoid the sensory challenges associated with certain candies. Here are some great options!

Pumpkin Decorating Party

Rather than the traditional pumpkin carving, organize a pumpkin decorating party. Use stickers, paint, and other non-carving methods. This creative and less messy approach allows your child to explore their artistic side without the sensory issues related to handling pumpkin guts. 

Themed Sensory Rooms

Set up themed sensory rooms at your home or within your community to give your child a safe space and allow for sensory breaks during Halloween festivities. These rooms can be tailored to provide sensory activities, like tactile bins with themed items, calming lighting, and soothing sounds where kids can take a break if they become overwhelmed. 

Treasure Hunt Adventure

Instead of traditional trick-or-treating, create a treasure hunt adventure at home or within a small group of friends. Hide treats and surprises in various sensory-friendly locations, and let your child explore and discover the treasures at their own pace.

Sensory Friendly Halloween Activities 

Some children may find many Halloween activities to be too sensory-rich and difficult to enjoy. Therefore, take a look at these sensory-friendly activities and select one that is the right fit for your child’s sensory preferences and exploration! We love these activities for fun Halloween play, without the sensory overload!

Reverse Trick-or-Treating

Rather than venturing out to collect candies, consider "reverse trick-or-treating." Invite friends and family over, and let your child play the role of the generous host. They can distribute treats to visitors at their own pace, allowing them to feel in control of the situation.

We hope these tips spark your creativity and help make Halloween an enjoyable and inclusive event for all. Wishing you and your family a spooktacular and sensory-friendly Halloween!

PlayWell Brooklyn is an inclusive playspace located in the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. We are open everyday of the week and offer open-play, classes, private events, and more. Please check out our schedule and offerings to learn more.