Make trick or treating safe and fun for all

| October 22, 2021

Planning on going trick or treating or passing out candy? Here are some tips to help make it a good experience for everyone including those with disabilities.

“If you are passing out candy, understand that you can’t see all disabilities,” said Jen Jones from the ASK Autism support group. “The child who grabs a handful of candy might have motor skill issues that make it difficult to pick one piece. A child who doesn’t say trick or treat or thank you may be non-verbal, not rude.”

She encouraged people to be kind and understanding.

“Realize how hard it can be for the parents of special needs children to do things most people take for granted,” Jones said. “Be ok with a teenager trick or treating – even if they aren’t special needs, it’s a piece of candy. Let them have fun.”

Another tip she has for parents is to not force Halloween activities on them.

“Remember that even though you have fond memories of trick or treating, there may be very little your child enjoys … strange clothes, strange people, different routine… it can all be overwhelming and scary,” Jones said. “Maybe limit how many houses you visit or only go to homes of people you know. For our family, my (autistic) daughter enjoyed trick or treating, but my (autistic) son didn’t. He went to be with his sisters, but he would have happily skipped it. He didn’t like costumes or strangers. You know your child best – let them try, but don’t force them to do something because everyone else is.”

Here is some more handy advice from Safe Kids Worldwide, the Mayo Clinic, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help keep children of all ages and abilities safe this Halloween.

  • Make sure you’re visible when trick-or-treating. Reflective tape, glow sticks, flashlights, or camping lanterns can make pedestrians more visible to motorists.
  • Pedestrians should walk on sidewalks if they are available. When sidewalks are not available, walk facing traffic and do so as far off to the side of the road as you can get.
  • Drivers should be especially alert to pedestrians on trick or treat night. Drive slowly, as many kids scurry from house to house in search of Halloween candy.
  • Pedestrians and drivers should follow the rules of the road, stopping at intersections and crossing in crosswalks.
  • All costumes, wigs and accessories should be fire-resistant. Make sure that costumes do not impede your ability to walk or see.
  • Test makeup to check for skin irritation before application. Remove it promptly after returning home.
  • Set up a buddy system so that no one is going it alone. Agree on a specific time children should return home. Adults should chaperone young children.
  • While incidences of candy tampering may be minimal, no one should snack on candy until it has been inspected. Inspections also protect against food allergies.

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Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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