Creating a sensory-friendly Halloween: my own experience and tips

Our kiddos go to bed early every day. They have to because they have so much to deal with everyday, they just crash really early. And if they don’t get 12 hrs sleep they are a mess the next day.

We celebrate Halloween very differently. Much like Christmas and birthdays. The week before is a huge build-up with lots of arts and crafts and learning fun, creating our own decorations, carving pumpkins and making pumpkin pie and pumpkin soup…

And yes, on Halloween the six of us have a fun pumpkin dinner together with no additional friends or family in our pumpkin lit room and we laugh, read and tickle. And then they go to bed early. Just like every other day. Because they will be completely overstimulated by the fun and lights and excitement.

And we leave a kind note by the door with a big bowl of chockies and a lit pumpkin asking to please help yourself and don’t knock or ring the doorbell because my babies are fast asleep….. That’s how we celebrate Halloween.


I’ve been reading comments from parents of children with sensory processing disorder and realizing that Halloween might be a challenging time for kids with SPD:  there’s the comfort of the costume, the high activity level of parties and trick or treating, dietary concerns, and so on.

I personally have never been into scary movies, ghost stories, or haunted houses.  My vivid imagination and tendency to startle easily make those kinds of activities less than enjoyable.  Also, I find bloody and gory costumes and scenery downright disgusting, and the more realistic those are, the more visceral my reaction tends to be.  I’ve always enjoyed he dressing up part of Halloween.  I have always been a huge fan of comfort and preferred homemade costumes – I didn’t the texture of many of the store-bought ones.

I had written most of the previous paragraph in the past tense before I realized that most…

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