Is it just me, or hasn’t this year gone by exceptionally fast? It is difficult to believe that it is already October and time to prepare for Halloween! If your children are like mine, they have been talking about “who” or “what” they want to “be” for Halloween. If you haven’t found your child’s Halloween costume yet, you will need to kick it into “Drive” NOW! The costume that your child wants may be one of the “cool” action heroes, or characters in recent movies, and those popular costumes will be the first to sell out! Here are some other tips for Halloween this year:
1. Keep in mind, any sensory issues that you might encounter, while choosing a Halloween costume for your special needs child. Costumes need to allow for easy movement and not restrict your child from doing everything he or she is used to. It is important to make sure that your child is “happy” with how the costume fits, looks, and feels on his or her skin. If your child is extremely sensitive to certain types of material, fabric seams in general, the use of elastic, velcro or tie strings to costumes and the way that a mask sits on his, or her, face…these are all things that you need to look out for when selecting your child’s Halloween costume.
2. Also, consider what accessories that you will have to purchase separately, for the Halloween costume your child picks. An example of things that might be sold separately are:
costume make up, masks, hats, tiaras, character specific gloves, wigs, boots, plastic accessories such as bow & arrows, swords, axes, hammers, guns, make-believe badges, etc.
3. There are certain things that young children really don’t need in a Halloween costume, especially a child with special needs. A child with special needs has enough to think about. Keep it as simple as possible because the fewer number of items that your child has to wear, or carry, the better off he, or she, will be!
4. Deciding whether to go with a traditional mask for a Halloween costume, to use make up on your child’s face or to select a costume that doesn’t require anything on your child’s face, is important when creating a “memorable experience” for a child with special needs. If your child does not like things covering his, or her, face then it is probably a good idea to either try a smaller mask, or use face paint, if you can convince him, or her, of how it will look. It doesn’t have to be perfect, your child just has to be comfortable with how they feel about it, physically and emotionally. You can prepare your child for either the mask or the costume make up by “practicing” with the one that he, or she, is most comfortable using for a few days, or weeks, ahead of time. Remember, it is always an option to choose a Halloween costume that does not require your child’s face to be covered.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask your child general questions about how he, or she, likes their costume. If they don’t like something, he or she will be sure to tell you, in no uncertain terms! This first-hand information will help you to make minor adjustments, or alterations, to his or her costume, as needed.
If your special needs child is unable to communicate what is bothering him or her, you might want to specifically observe them for the following areas of concern: tugging at elastic in the cuffs of the sleeves or pant legs, bunching of his or her clothes under the Halloween costume, the feel of the material on their sensitive skin or the seams could be frustrating to him, or her.
When your special needs child feels comfortable with their entire costume, he or she will most likely be able to communicate this to you or by you being able to tell by reading his, or her, body language. If your special needs child is completely content with how he or she feels about their Halloween costume, then it will most likely prove to be a successful Halloween experience for you and the rest of your family!