Here’s some commentary I’ve been seeing the last few years around this Halloween time.
“With Halloween upon us, please keep in mind, a lot of little people will be visiting your home. Be accepting. The child who is grabbing more than one piece of candy may have fine motor skills. The child who takes forever to pick out one piece of candy may have motor planning issues. The child who does not say trick or treat or thank you may be non-verbal. The child who looks disappointed when they see your bowl might have an allergy. The child who isn’t wearing a costume at all may have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) or autism. Be nice. Be patient. It’s everyone’s Halloween.”
As a generous soul who is kind enough to want to interact with children on this holiday, I thank you in advance for doing whatever you wish and think is appropriate for Halloween. And if you have your Halloween traditions, feel free … my elementary P.E. teacher would scare the stuffing out of every group of children who rang his doorbell, so we had to decide if we really wanted to or not, for the sake of getting a coveted piece of candy.
But please remember that the world is changing, whether we like it or not.
Some of the changes are positive, like greater awareness of disabilities in the workplace, celebrating “National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” in October and the progression toward a more inclusive society. There’s also a greater awareness of less-obvious challenges like the financial costs and long-term planning for the needs of loved ones through the ABLE Act.
A fairly recent movement for Halloween has to do with providing non-food treats for those who can’t eat the traditional candy given out. The Teal Pumpkin Project helps those with whose families deal with food allergies, those who have Type 1 Diabetes, and those who have a gastronomy tube (G-tube). By providing non-food treats, these children can be encouraged to enjoy the holiday, too.
Although your contribution toward kindness to trick-or-treaters might seem small to you, for a family who is affected by any of the challenges listed above, it can truly be the bright spot in celebrating Halloween this year by taking their little ones (or not-so-little ones) trick-or-treating.
Have a safe and fun holiday, and Happy Halloween!