Halloween For Kids With Allergies And Special Needs: A Happy Story, A Genius Idea

The other day, I read about a neighborhood in Barrington, Illinois, where special homes will be designated houses for kids who have allergies or sensory issues. On October 30, they’ll be welcome at households in the Fox Point subdivision that have volunteered, from 5:30 to 7:00; allergen-free treats will be provided. The event is hosted by Barrington Area Special Voices, a nonprofit volunteer group that helps kids with special needs.

How absolutely, positively awesome, I thought. Also: how rare.

If ever there’s a time during the year when our family has felt alone, it’s Halloween. For years, Max wouldn’t go to the town parade (too loud, too hectic) and wouldn’t trick or treat (too scary). We started doing Halloween in our own way, celebrating with Max at home and letting him make the rounds without a costume. I wrote about that once, and got a comment that it was “rude” and showed “a lack of spirit” to let Max hit our neighborhood sans Halloween gear; the intolerance was mind-boggling.

The truth is, Halloween can be a nightmare for kids with special needs, particularly those like Max who have sensory issues. In recent years, there’s been growing attention to including them, with lots of good ideas from experts and parents (Lisa recently shared great pointers on making Halloween fun for kids with autism or sensory issues). Meanwhile, Max has come a long, long way; he’s been talking about going trick-or-treating for weeks now. He’s still not into the parade, and that’s fine; I’ll take my daughter, and Max will hang with his Dad and enjoy the activities he wants to.

Still, I’m so inspired by the genius idea of having a group of homes that welcome kids with special needs; it’s the ultimate inclusive Halloween. I’d like to try and rope in some homes in our neighborhood to do this, but at the very least, I’m going to make our home allergen-free and put up a sign saying that.

What’s made your child feel comfortable doing Halloween?


More to read from my other blog:

The lady who’s about to destroy Halloween (that would be me)

A kid, his car wash, and a whole lot of Halloween fun

Is it wrong to make your child wear a Bed, Bath & Beyond shopping bag for Halloween?


Image of pumpkins on stairs via Shutterstock

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  1. by Tooner

    On October 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    When I used to go out for Halloween my mom used to go up the stairs for me and get the candy. So they wouldn’t have to lift me up every stair.

  2. [...] Halloween ideas for kids with allergies and special needs.  (Parents.com) [...]

  3. by Sue

    On October 20, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I get two identical Trick or Treat bags and Pre-pack one with safe food items. My son has severe food allergies. On our way home when he is tired of carrying his bag I conveniently switch the bags to the allergy friendly bag. So far he hasn’t caught me!

  4. [...] Halloween For Kids With Allergies And Special Needs: A Happy Story, A Genius Idea [...]

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