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Five Tips for Going Door-to-Door on Halloween - Making Halloween Fun for Kids with Special Needs

Updated: Oct 20, 2018

Part 2 of a Four-Part SPARK Spooktacular Series

For some parents, Halloween means standing back and smiling as their kids sprint excitedly from door to door, collecting candy like it's their job. Other parents, though, experience the event with a greater sense of worry. For some, it's the judgmental frowns from candy-giver-outers from whom their child grabs candy and runs away without a word exchanged. Or for kids with mobility challenges, simply getting from door to door may be too much tricky and not enough treaty. Check out this list of ideas that may make this year's trick-or-treating experience a little bit easier on everyone!

A woman with a mask and holding a bowl of candy at her front door greets a child dressed as a princess and holding a bag open.

1. Let's Talk About It

Spend lots of time talking about what to expect on Halloween. There are some great social stories that can help your child mentally prepare for the night. Here's one that we created:

Download a free printable version by clicking here.

2. Map It Out

Take a drive or walk around the streets nearby in the days or weeks leading up to Halloween. Mark on a map the homes that are most accessible. Style of home, elevation of the land, and availability of sidewalks are all considerations that impact accessibility for those with mobility issues. And, although planning can be great, be flexible by allowing your child to determine which houses they want to visit. Houses with loud music or noises may be tricky for those who dislike loud sounds, or houses with a lot of scary decorations may be too much for an anxious child that has difficulty understanding the difference between reality and make believe.

3. Make Practice Fun

In the days leading up to October 31st, practice saying “Trick or Treat” and “Thank you” by playing this SPARK original Halloween Haunt game. Not only will it help your child get pumped up for Halloween, it’s also a great opportunity to practice social skills like turn taking, and to have some fun family time!

Download a free printable version by clicking here.

4. Don’t Sweat It

You shouldn't fret about your child mastering 'Trick or Treat' before Halloween. This phrase contains several sounds that require movement to different areas of the mouth, which typically-developing children may have trouble mastering until age 4 or 5 (or later!). Don’t worry if your child’s speech is unclear on Halloween night – the familiar sing-song phrase is easily recognizable, so any approximation of Trick or Treat should get the point across (e.g. “dih-oh-dee”).

5. Say Nothing At All

Know that not having the words or social skills to communicate by speaking on Halloween night is okay! If you’re nervous about judgmental strangers, or you simply want to raise some awareness, consider printing off a copy of this card. It can be attached to your child's jacket or candy bag, or copies can be made and handed out at each house. While by no means should anyone feel obligated to explain their child’s unique needs to strangers, by sharing a specific need, others may gain understanding about specific differences, and it may help ward of snarky comments or uninvited questions:

­Download a free printable version by clicking here.


Part 1

Seven Tips for Dressing Up on Halloween


Part 3

Three Trick-or-Treating Alternatives for at Home


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