Trick or treating is not mandatory. Children can meaningfully participate in Halloween festivities without going door to door in costume. Occupational therapy practitioners know that modifying activities and the environment can help children have a positive experience and still get to participate in festivities.
There can be many reasons why a child cannot (or doesn’t want to!) participate in trick or treating—from living in a rural area to having sensory challenges that makes costumes and going to strangers’ houses overwhelming.
We wanted to share a few ideas by OT practitioners for celebrating Halloween that go beyond the typical trick or treating.
If the costume and going to door to door will be too much, you can try this Sensory Scavenger Hunt instead. Print out this list from the Inspired Treehouse and go on a walk together on Halloween night. Check off when you find things on the scavenger hunt list, and see how many you can get.
Stay inside and do some Halloween-themed crafts and activities instead. These four ideas by Mama OT are not only fun for kids, but they also provide some fine motor work as well!
Miss Jaime, OT has some ideas for a Halloween party with homemade sensory activities like Halloween slime and “dirt doh.”
What about babies and toddlers? Not technically a Halloween activity, but the CanDoKiddo flashlight games for babies and toddlers can be a “spooky” activity. Tummy time in the dark, anyone?
Check out this creative idea by the OT Toolbox for a real life I Spy Game. Set up a table with lots of Fall- and Halloween-themed objects and play I Spy.
AOTA’s tip sheet has several trick or treating alternative ideas—roasting pumpkin seeds, picking apples, and decorating a pumpkin with stickers and markers instead of carving. Remember that often children will have just as much fun handing out candy to trick or treaters from home!
Get more ideas and suggestions from pediatric OT practitioners here.
What are your favorite activities for Halloween festivities? What modifications do you recommend?