Unsure of what to do for Halloween with your little ones this year? So many things are different with Covid-19.
Restricted activities: trick-or-treating, parties, multiple masks, large gatherings. Isn’t this basically Halloween as we know it?
A parent can be at their wits end trying to figure out how to keep Halloween traditions alive and protecting their children’s experiences and memories.
If you are anything like me, Halloween is a special, magical time of year. It’s the one day and night we can be anything we want, become someone else and begin to develop our confidence over scary things. Plus, there’s the candy.
LGOST’s pediatric division, Kids’ Perspective Physical Therapy is here to give you some simple tips to easily make your Halloween fun, safe and special! In fact, some of these ideas may be such a hit they will make an annual comeback and can help your children be included and include others in this amazing holiday.
Tips on how to make Halloween 2020 special:
- Decorate! Pull out those Halloween skeletons, bats and spiderwebs and set them up. This will create a sense of normalcy and help make the season magical.
- Let the kids lead! Have the kids help and let them have some control by deciding where decorations should go (both inside and outside the house). By letting them lead the way, they will develop decision making skills and be excited and not afraid when darkness arrives.
- Put up those orange and purple lights, every child loves the glow and this can be enjoyed throughout October and even into November for those nightly walks or just enjoying the outside at sunset.
*Tip Highlight: for children with sensory processing issues, sensitivity to touch or flashing lights or Autism think about exposing them to Halloween decorations gradually and to their tolerance. During the daytime or with lights on and giving them time to explore without any forcing is important for them to feel in control.
- Dress Up! Let you children choose and dress up in a costume and consider dressing up yourself. This will make the night very special. Be sure not to double up on your child’s mask…Halloween masks can be difficult to breathe through so adding a cloth mask underneath is not safe. Consider using a cloth mask with 2 or more layers and decorating it for your child’s costume theme instead.
- Incorporate everything about your child! If your child has a physical disability and uses a wheelchair, consider a costume that utilizes the wheelchair! I am impressed with Target because they have many costumes available for all children including those with special needs. See this link for some ideas.
*Tip Highlight: Expose your children to the idea of children with unique challenges and how Halloween is special to everyone by sharing some of the amazing costume pictures that include children using wheelchairs, walkers and other devices. This can increase acceptance and inclusion for children that may have disabilities and are in mainstream classes or in Special Education. Let’s teach children that friendships and respect have no barriers
- Carve those pumpkins! Again, let your child lead the way but safely. An adult should open the pumpkin (I suggest a hole in the back instead of the top, much easier to get to the candle). Help your young one clean out the pumpkin, remember those with sensitivity issues may need more time and want to feel the guts only if they can see them. Have your child draw and cut out the face or decoration on paper and tape on the pumpkin. If your child has difficulty with cutting due to decreased hand strength, consider an adapted pair of scissors such as these.
Remember…only you handle the carving knife!
- Include others! Take pictures to send or live chat your friends and relatives…you can even have a virtual costume contest. This is a great way to safely connect your child with others on the special night.
- Make it a night to remember! Here’s some amazing ideas for room trick-or-treating that your kiddos will want every year.
• Bathroom Bobbing for Apples: an oldie but a goodie! Get an apple and later take to the kitchen to dip in melted caramel for an extra treat. For the bobbing, use a bowl, a bucket or a cooler. Too tricky for your child? Let them scoop up an apple with a large spoon or pinchers.
• Bedroom Bowling with Ghosts: set up those extra toilet paper rolls in a pyramid and slap on some ghost faces on each of them. Use a ball to roll and knock over, have a treat after the game is over.
• Bedroom Crazy Light Scavenger Hunt: Have a list of clues where prizes or candy are hidden in the room. Have some flashing lights or blinking flashlights going in the room with the main lights off and allow your child to find the treasures. A wonderful light I love can be found here and makes a great night light for later
*Remember to keep the main lights on if your child is frightened and avoid strobe lights if your child has any seizure challenges.
• Dining room Dodging the Spiders: Make a fort using your table, chairs some Halloween lights, spiders webs and plastic spiders. Have the kids crawl under the table. They will want to hang out here later so have the blankets and pillows ready. Maybe even a Halloween fort sleepover is in order?!!
- Extras make the difference! Include some great Halloween music, themed dinner items (mummy hotdogs come to mind) and a child-friendly movie to round off a Halloween to remember.
Yes, Halloween 2020 will be different but it can also be amazing and a treasure for your child. You can easily make this one of their favorite Halloweens ever with a little effort and a positive attitude. You can visit the CDC website for more tips on how to keep your 2020 holidays safe at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html
And remember LGOST and Kids’ Perspective Physical Therapy are here for you and your little ones at all times of the year. If your child has challenges with sensitivity, strength, balance or milestones our specialists can help. Give us a call anytime and be sure to have a wonderful Halloween!