Let’s talk about Halloween! On a “normal” year, it can be a busy exciting day going house-to-house, seeing friends and family, attending Halloween parties, and having a busy social time. This year, however, might look a little bit different depending on your family’s needs and availability of activities in your community. Plus, for caregivers of children who have sensory needs, emotional challenges, or other difficulties, the traditional celebrations might be a bit trickier than for others. First, we want to emphasize that whether or not you can have a Pinterest-perfect holiday celebration, you are an amazing parent. Full stop. Second, there are a variety of different ways to celebrate Halloween that can meet your family’s unique needs this year or anywhere! Below are a few of our therapists’ favorite alternative Halloween activities:

  • Halloween scavenger hunt! You can do this in your neighborhood or in your house – you can download our Scavenger Hunt here or make one of your own! Have your kids find different spooky things and have some kind of celebration at the end.
  • At-home costume dress-up and games. Even if you don’t have a costume purchased and ready to go, you can make this extra fun! Either put on those costumes that you made or purchased and play Charades or make a fun TikTok together, or challenge every family member to make a costume of their own choosing from the things they already own! This can be a super fun challenge and bonus, it’s free.
  • Trick-or-treat at home. If you aren’t able to go door-to-door or visit a trunk or treat, do it at home! Make little stations throughout your house and have the kids go to each area and get a treat. If your children are older, you could set up a little challenge or puzzle they have to do before they get their item! This can be extra fun and make it last a little bit longer, too.
  • Halloween dance party. There are so many amazing spooky songs for kids of all ages. We love the Wee Sing Halloween album for younger kids, you can’t go wrong with a Monster Mash playlist for older, and you can find any type of genre your kid likes. Put on music, dance around the house, turn off the lights, get some glow sticks, you can make it as fancy or as silly as you’d like! Pro tip: make sure YOU dance with them. That will mean the world to them and make it extra fun.
  • Spooky movie night. There are all kinds of Halloween specials and spooky movies for kids of all ages! If you subscribe to a streaming service, check out their Halloween special section and watch a movie together as a family. There are also some lovely free access to Halloween content on YouTube! Sitting and watching a movie together as a family is a wonderful activity. Make sure to put your phones down and be present together – that’s part of the joy.
  • Pumpkin painting or carving. It’s not too late to paint and carve pumpkins!! We love painting pumpkins as an alternative for kids who are not quite old enough to manage a carving tool. This is also a great sensory experience!

Remember, the most important thing for your children (and yourself!) is connection. Your children will remember the way you make them feel, the time you spend together, and the happiness that comes from being together. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or Instagram-feed-worthy, or anything but authentic. From all of us at CGRC, have a wonderful Halloween!