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Halloween Sensory Tips

When many think of Halloween, they think of fun, candy, costumes, trick or treating and more! For others, this may be a challenging Holiday to participate in due to sensory challenges. For example, Halloween can be overwhelming for individuals that may have sensory processing challenges that do not enjoy the tactile texture of the costume, the loud noises in crowds, or the disruption in the routine. A good way to prepare is to use a social story to practice and talk about what will happen during trick or treating. This will help to prepare then for the different sensory aspects of tick or treating. As caregivers, try to be flexible, patient and adjust to meet the child’s sensory needs. Below, are some tips on how to have a sensory friendly Halloween!


– Try to wear practice wearing costume around before Halloween and allow him/her pick out their “favorite”. We want to avoid pressuring the child to wear the costume if uncomfortable.

– Bring a back up outfit in case the costume becomes too much and they can change into a more comfortable outfit for them.

– Try varied fabrics that feel similar to their regular clothes. For example, wear a t shirt with design on it.


– If the environment is too loud, try noise cancellation head phones

– Try to attend event early to decrease noise

– Take breaks from the noise


– If environment is too visually over stimulating try to avoid areas with excess lights

– Try to attend event early to decrease visually over stimulating crowds and allow it to still be light outside.

– Try areas that are familiar to child so they know the visual environment.

– Take breaks from the visual stimulation


– Proprioceptive input is a great calming strategy to use. Try weighted back pack when trick or treating.

– Allow child to wear compression/tight clothing under costume

– Before trick or treating engage in heavy work and weight bearing task.


– If the child seeks vestibular input try a wagon to pull them in

Remember to incorporate already learned sensory strategies to emotionally regulate.

Happy Halloween!

– Morgan Adekoya, MS, OTR/L