How to Accommodate Adults with Disabilities for a Stress-Free Halloween

Halloween is full of excitement. With costumes, decorations, and Halloween spirit in the air, many people look forward to a night of trick or treating and celebration. However, those with special needs, physical disabilities, and other everyday challenges, may view Halloween as more daunting than fun.

Everyone deserves to have a blast on Halloween, despite physical and cognitive ability. It’s best to plan ahead to avoid the stressors as much as possible before the time comes. Join us as we explore various ways to celebrate October 31st with limited stress!

Get Creative with Costumes

Dressing up is one of the most classic and exciting ways to celebrate Halloween. However, individuals with disabilities may not feel comfortable with all costumes on the market. Does your loved one have sensory issues? Sew a homemade costume with a non-triggering fabric. Does your loved one have a physical disability? Perhaps you can work their wheelchair into the costume. Getting crafty with homemade costumes can be a fun way to incorporate comfort and creativity into Halloween. Avoid anything on a costume that could possibly obstruct vision or limit mobility—that can add extra and unnecessary anxiety.

Prepare for the Trick or Treaters

A bustling neighborhood, loud noises, and excessive doorbell ringing are common occurrences on Halloween night. These elements of trick or treating festivities can be off-putting or uncomfortable to individuals with disabilities.

Prepare your loved one for the neighborhood shenanigans they may encounter. Perhaps you have them practice answering the door to hand out candy. Or, have them watch a Halloween movie that includes a trick or treating scene. Familiarizing them with what’s to come can help build confidence and excitement for when the day comes!

Throw Your Own Party

If answering the door for trick or treaters seems too overwhelming for your loved one with a disability, don’t be afraid to break tradition! Giving out candy isn’t the only way to celebrate Halloween. There are many other activities that may align with your loved one’s interests and comfort levels. Throw your own Halloween party with adaptive activities such as:

  • Pumpkin decorating: Whether carving a jack-o-lantern or decorating pumpkins with paint and glue, this crafty activity is the perfect way to get in the Fall spirit! This allows adults with disabilities to relax, avoid the holiday crowds, and express their creative side!
  • Baking Halloween Treats: Cooking and baking can be very accessible and sensory-friendly for adults with disabilities. It’s the perfect activity to practice life skills, spend quality time with friends or family in the kitchen, and enjoy the delicious outcome! In fact, Covey offers these classes every Thursday! On Halloween, sprinkle in some festive, holiday-themed treats to the menu. Try making spider cookies, pumpkin bread, or candy corn cookies. Plus—if you carve a pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern, save the insides for homemade roasted pumpkin seeds!
  • Watching Spooky Movies: Spooky movies put everyone in the Halloween spirit! Immersing yourself in a film can occupy the time in between trick or treaters ringing the doorbell. If the classic thrillers are a bit too scary for your loved one’s taste, check out this list of 55 Family-Friendly Halloween Movies.
  • Playing Halloween Games: Who doesn’t love a Halloween-themed game? Create spooky versions of everyday favorites. For example, printable Halloween Bingo cards are a simple way to tie in some festive flair to game night. 
  • Dancing to Halloween Music: Studies show that dancing is a wonderful activity for adults with disabilities, both physically and mentally. It’s a great way to express emotions in a fun, therapeutic manner. The best part about dancing? It allows everyone to use their personal mobility and energy levels to move in their own way. Among the many benefits of dancing for individuals with disabilities, it can also help improve socialization, self esteem, autonomy, and communication skills. This Halloween, throw on some  spooky tunes and have a dance party in costume!

Remember: it’s okay to throw tradition out the window. Plan your Halloween according to your loved ones’ comfortability and accommodations. Halloween is meant to be fun for everyone, so be flexible and stay positive!

Covey: Always Adapting for Fun Activities!

Covey is a nonprofit organization in Wisconsin’s greater Fox Valley that is committed to helping adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our mission is to create opportunities that foster personal growth in our participants and their families.

Here at Covey, we know first-hand that people with disabilities don’t always feel comfortable participating in crowded or over-stimulating events. That’s why through Covey Connects, we create adaptive activities that our participants feel excited to participate in, not stressed.

Our number one priority is our participants’ safety and well-being, so we are very careful to plan these activities around that objective. Take a look at our  event calendar to see what events are coming up, such as our ‘Bowl-o-ween’ Halloween Bowling Party, our sensory-friendly baking class, and our trip to Sanctuary Aquatics!

For more information about our organization, visit our website.

Happy Halloween!