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5 Halloween Tips For Children With Special Needs


1. Stay focused on the specific needs of your child.

It is important to be aware of surroundings while venturing through the neighborhood during holiday celebrations. Speak with your child about the things they may see. Costumes and decorations they see may be frightening to them, let them know Halloween can be spooky but it is meant for fun. Have a plan in place in case a situation should arise. It is common for individuals with Autism to experience sensory overload or anxiety.    


For more information visit:                                       


2. Have a plan in place in case of wandering.

In case of separation, add a safety tag with the name of the individual, their address, and an emergency telephone number. Having a safety tag increases the probability of safe return. Another great way to reduce wandering is to implement the “buddy system”, group friends together for a safe and fun night. Finally, point out safe places. Show your children safe places to play, safe roads and paths to take, and safe places to go if there’s trouble.        


For more information visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at:


3. Review “stranger safety” prior to heading out for the night.

A stranger is anyone your family does not know well. Explain to the individual that you cannot determine if a stranger is “nice” or “not nice” from just looking at them. Teach individuals to take caution when approaching someone they do not know. But don’t make it seem like all strangers are bad. If children need help, the safest thing for them to do in many cases is to ask a stranger for help. You can make this easier for them by showing them which strangers are okay to trust. Know your neighbors and your neighborhood.


For more information visit the National Crime Prevention Council website at:


4. Have a treat plan in place before heading out.

It is easy to delve right into Halloween treats, but establish a treat plan to ensure candy and treats can be inspected before being eaten. Many individuals have allergies, and food sensitivities and it is important to eliminate any risks that could endanger their health. To reduce the chances of candy consumption make sure a hearty meal is eaten before heading out. 


For more information visit the FDA website at:


5. Dress in functional costumes.

     • Choose a costume that is easy to put on and take off.

     • Make sure the individual’s face is visible.

     • Select a costume that can be easily seen out of by the person wearing it. 

     • Wear a costume that is appropriate for the weather. 


For a variety of good costume ideas visit:


California MENTOR is the leading provider of services for individuals with special needs. For more information on the services we provide please visit 

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!


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Check out our Events Calendar in the Become a Mentor section for more information and to find an event near you.