Have you smelled it?
Have you seen the colors start to change?
Have you felt the crisp morning air?

Fall weather is finally peeking into the Triangle and Halloween is soon to follow. Halloween often presents challenges for families of children with special needs. Whether or not you choose to celebrate or how you celebrate, the signs are everywhere and hard to escape. For children with sensory processing disorders, Halloween can be an overwhelming and/or overstimulating experience. You can find ways to lessen the impact, make the holiday fun and use the holiday as a fun way to develop and practice new skills. Here are some ideas:

1. Carve a pumpkin and have your child scoop out the inside. If this is too overwhelming, let your child use a spoon and/or wear gloves. Don’t force if your child does not want to touch. As an alternative to carving, let your child hammer in lite brite type pegs available in kits at Target or for the younger child, use Mr. Potato Head decorating kits. 213j32f46hl_aa115__2

2. Check out this site: language ideas for lots of fun communication activities that are related to Halloween. Scroll about half way down the page.

3. Let your child make a spider snack. Spread peanut butter on a round cracker. Add eight pretzel legs sticking out to the sides. Top with a second cracker. Use peanut butter to adhere raisin eyes on top. (develops fine motor skills)

4. Try out costumes before the big day. Simple is generally better. Some children fare well in pajamas that portray a character (e.g. spider-man). The pajamas are soft and familiar. It is best to avoid masks (which also reduce a child’s ability to see). Face paint is a great option for those who will tolerate it.

5. For old children, we have found Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Weirdos very popular, esp. with older boys. Ed provides for step by step instructions on how to draw bats, black cats, witches, Frankenstein, etc.

6. For an alternative Halloween celebration, the Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation Dept. will be holding a Halloween party for children & youth with disabilities, their families, friends & neighbors on:
Wednesday, October 31st from 6:00 – 8:00 pm
at Homestead Community Center
600 homestead road, chapel hill, nc 27516

Costumes appreciated but not required
Pizza and soda served
Tricks & treats throughout the party
face painting

RSVP by October 30th before 5:00 pm
Marian Kaslovsky
chapel hill parks & recreation
968-2787 ext. 217
or email: mkaslovsky@townofchapelhill.org