Inclusive Activities for a Halloween Bash
Plan a Party That Everyone Can Enjoy
Regardless of their abilities or special needs, all children should have an opportunity to enjoy the spooky delights of Halloween! This season, consider hosting a get-together for your child and all their beloved friends. Whether or not your child requires special accommodations due to medical needs or physical or cognitive disabilities, host a get-together that is inclusive for all. Read on for some suggestions on making this Halloween one that can be enjoyed by any little ghoul or goblin!
Sensory-Friendly Haunted House
There are usually two camps of Halloween fans: Those that are into the dark, twisted and gory images and movies, and those that prefer more wholesome props and films, featuring jolly pumpkins and friendly ghosts. Both camps have fun, yet sticking to the latter set of decor is a wiser decision for little ones. Try to avoid the use of animatronics altogether, as they can be jarring for many children. Instead, consider creating a haunted house that contains many different fabric textures, soothing sounds and gentle lights.
Stream a Halloween movie or two during your party, free for guests to come and go as they please. Some options to consider: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; Hocus Pocus; Coco; E.T.; Scooby-Doo; The Nightmare Before Christmas; and The Haunted Mansion. Provide age-appropriate treats and drinks to make the experience feel more like a movie theater!
Provide a station with crafts to promote creativity and fine motor practice! Simple and engaging craft activities such as dot marker ghosts, jack o’lantern stickers, and paper plate bats or witches’ hats will keep little hands busy. Provide a variety of textures and easy-to-grip tools, ensuring that all children can participate and enjoy.
This classic Halloween activity is great for sensory exploration! Discuss the textures you feel as you help your child and/or your little guests, using terms such as wet, sticky, dry, cold, smooth, bumpy, etc. to help with language comprehension and development. Provide adaptive tools and assistance as needed. Consider eliminating carving to promote a safer experience, instead providing materials such as paint, stickers, textured paper, googly eyes and pipe cleaners.
Halt the activities at some point of the night and have all little guests gather round for a story time. Choose a Halloween-themed book or two and read aloud, encouraging questions and input from curious listeners. For non-verbal participants, prompt them with simple questions that they can answer on any personal AAC device they have, or provide a simple communication board including yes, no icons and any core words from the book you choose (i.e., characters in the book, actions, colors, or other pertinent vocabulary). Some fun options include: Room on the Broom; Five Little Pumpkins; It’s Halloween; How to Catch a Witch; and Ten Timid Ghosts. Make sure everyone gets an opportunity to contribute to the discussion!