How to Prepare your Special Needs Child for Halloween


Many families look forward to the excitement of Halloween – creative costumes, school parties and special sweet treats. But, for families with children with special needs, these seasonal festivities can become a source of stress.

At Bancroft’s Early Education Program, children ages three to nine get to practice before the big day.

“Preparedness is so important for the children we serve, and for all children with special needs,” says Elizabeth Fuzy, Principal at the Bancroft Early Education Program. “We practice trick-or-treating, and review ways to relate to friends who might be dressed differently.”

Students at the Bancroft Early Education Program Enjoying Halloween
Students at the Bancroft Early Education Program Enjoying Halloween

Here are some ways to practice Halloween rituals:

  1. Show pictures and videos of trick-or-treating
  2. Preview your trick-or-treating route through the neighborhood
  3. Practice social cues such as knocking on the door, saying “Trick or Treat” and the appropriate responses
  4. Dress them in their costume before the big day
  5. Take them through a full dress-rehearsal – maybe some neighbors would even be willing to participate!


With enough time to rehearse, prepare and become familiar with popular Halloween rituals, children with special needs can enjoy fun seasonal festivities alongside their peers.

“Each year, our students look forward to our Halloween parade and party,” Fuzy says. “Before party day, our staff spends time each afternoon practicing reacting and engaging during a fun or exciting event.”

When the big day arrives, students are equipped to fully enjoy the Halloween holiday, indulge in a special treat or two, and even dress up as their favorite characters and heroes. With the right tools, all children can enjoy this special time of year.

Remember to stay positive and enjoy the successes, big and small.

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