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:
Image of pumpkins on stairs via Shutterstock