Boo! From the Leading Therapy Home crew!
Spooky season is here, and trick-or-treating is just around the corner. Choosing a costume, getting dressed up, and showing off your sense of creativity is fun no matter how old you are! At Leading Therapy Home, we know that this can also be a stressful event, so we wanted to share some tips to make this holiday as stress-free as possible for your little superhero, robot, ghost, or witch!
Firstly, consider your child’s current speech and language skills. If you’re worried about what your child won’t be able to do or say while trick-or-treating, take a minute to think about what they can do! Even if they can’t say “trick or treat” clearly, they may be able to give a very close attempt. Or maybe they can say “Hi!” more easily. No matter what your child’s unique needs are, there’s likely a way they can try and communicate during trick-or-treating. We’ll cover some ways you can help them do this.
If your child has never been trick-or-treating, or if you’re not sure they’ll understand the concept, you can spend some time pretending to trick-or-treat. You can easily practice at home if you have another adult or a sibling present. One person can stay in a room behind a door, and the other adult can stay with the child. Have whatever bucket/bag your child will use on Halloween handy.
Start by modeling for your child what they should do. Knock on the door. When the other person opens the door, say, “trick or treat!” and wait for candy to be placed inside the bag/bucket. Then, start the process over and give your child a few turns. If you have some friendly neighbors nearby, ask if your child could come practice trick-or-treating at their house, as well. The more your child can practice before, the better they’ll understand what to do on Halloween. Practice makes progress, so practice as much as you’re able to! While practicing trick-or-treating, you can work together to make a plan for how they’ll request candy. Here are some options to consider:
You can spend some time practicing how to say the phrase “trick or treat” in the days leading up to Halloween. If your child is trying to say, “trick or treat,” go with their attempt! Even if it isn’t 100% clear, they’re doing their best.
If your kiddo can’t say, “trick or treat,” let them use another word so they can practice verbalizing to request candy. They can practice saying “Please” or even “Hi” when the person comes to the door.
For children who can make requests through signs and gestures, you can use this ability on Halloween if you’d like your child to get more practice! Encourage them to use a sign like “Thank you,” or “Please.”
*Helpful hint: Put a sign on your child’s bucket that says, “Trick or treat! I am learning to speak!”
(This is a great, low-key way to provide extra support for your child while they’re going door-to-door.)
For sensory savvy caregivers, we recommend looking for costumes that are not scratchy or uncomfortable and forgoing face paint or other sticky/slimy items. For some children, trick-or-treating may simply be too overwhelming and that’s okay! If it is too much there are other ways to enjoy the spooky holiday. Instead, host a Halloween party with one or two of your child’s friends, play fun sensory-friendly games, or invite friends and family over and have your child “trick-or-treat” from room to room in your house.
Lastly, don’t forget to start planning which candy bar(s) to sneak out of the bucket after your children go to bed for the night. With all the preparation and coordination that goes into these celebrations, you’ve earned a treat (or trick!) yourself!