How to make Halloween accessible for visually impaired children
13 top tips for a fun and safe spooky season
Have a frightfully fangtastic Halloween with Useful Vision’s top tips for visually impaired children, to make sure the scariest night of the year is full of treats, not tricks!
- Plan Your Route
If you’re gearing up to go trick or treating this year, decide on a familiar route so there are no nasty surprises. Consider trying out assistive technology such as the new Door Detection feature from apple so your child can tell exactly which house they’ve reached.
- Extra Lighting
Make sure to stock up on torches and batteries, especially if your child’s vision worsens in low light. You could even incorporate extra lighting into their costume with portable LED lights, as a bonus, they’ll be easy to spot in the dark!
- Go Trick or Treating Earlier
If noise or darkness makes trick or treating at night inaccessible, try going in the afternoon instead. Maybe plan to visit relatives or friends rather than strangers houses for a guaranteed treat!
- Ask family and friends to be mindful
Costumes can make it challenging to work out who’s in front of you and Halloween masks often muffle people’s voices, which can be very disorientating for visually impaired children. Ask your friends, family, or other trick or treaters to introduce themselves clearly, or take off their masks, when greeting your child. Make sure to let your child know if there will be any sudden loud noises, such as fireworks.
- Noise Cancelling Headphones
Following on from our last tip, have a pair of noise cancelling headphones at the ready. Visually impaired children, or those with additional needs, can be extra sensitive to noise and Halloween is often chaotic and loud. Making sure you have a pair of noise cancelling headphones can help your child relax and enjoy the festivities.
Crafts and Games
- Tactile Costumes
Making a costume at home is a great way to encourage kids to get creative and incorporating interesting textures includes visually impaired children in the fun. Transform into a werewolf or witches’ cat with faux fur, wrap up as a toilet paper mummy, cut up old clothes to make a tatty scarecrow costume, or stick cotton wool balls onto a black t-shirt to make ghastly ghosts.
- Face Painting & Hair Braiding
Wearing masks or wigs can limit vision so consider trying out some spooky face paint or creating hair-raising hairstyles instead. Applying face paint and braiding hair can also be a relaxing sensory experience.
What’s better than the smell of freshly baked cookies? Introduce your child to exciting seasonal tastes and smells through baking together. From spider biscuits to meringue monsters, you can find some ghoulishly good baking ideas here.
- Listen to Scary Stories
There’s a wide range of stories to get your fangs into this Halloween. Storyberries have produced a list of spooky stories, suitable for a variety of ages. Webster’s Witches Ugly Potion is a seasonal sensory story, aimed at making storytelling more accessible by incorporating all the senses. You can access more sensory stories and podcasts here.
- Make a Squelchy Sensory Box
Making a hands-on squelchy sensory box is a fun way of incorporating Halloween into a sensory activity. You could mix noodles in a bowl and add spooky accessories such as spiders or eyeballs to feel around for. You could even swap the noodles for even more squelchy materials such as jelly or custard! For those children not keen on using their hands, try turning a wooden spoon into a witch’s ladle to stir the mixture.
- Host a Halloween treasure hunt
If trick or treating isn’t your thing, but you don’t want to miss out on the fun, try hosting a Halloween treasure hunt. You could record audio clues, use scents, or try tactile markers to make a fully accessible trail for treats around the home!
- Make a Halloween Wreath
Collecting fallen leaves, acorns and twigs can be a fun sensory experience and a great way to get out in nature. You can then take your autumnal foliage home and get crafty by making a Halloween wreath. Hobbycraft have an easy step-by-step guide for inspiration!
- Blindfolded Halloween Games
Halloween games where every participant is blindfolded are fully accessible for visually impaired children and great fun for the whole family! Check out this list from our friends at Victa for some inspiration.