Halloween Safety Tips for Visually Impaired Children

Halloween is traditionally known as the spookiest holiday of the year. People dress up in creative costumes, participate in fun activities, and eat lots of sweet treats. This fall holiday is fun and encourages socialization and self-confidence for visually impaired children.  They get to hang out with their friends, go to costume parties, trick-or-treat, play games, and more. Get your child ready to have a ghostly good time during Halloween with these tips.

Original yet clever costumes are a key element for an enjoyable Halloween. From furry animals, cartoon characters or your favorite superhero, costumes are essential. Design and create your child’s costume or purchase one. Visually impaired children using wheelchairs can get in the game with imaginative  costumes that make their chair a prop. Get a costume that fits well. Not too big or too long that might cause them to trip and cause injury. Avoid costumes with masks, wigs, hats or eye patches that can block the eyes and decrease usable vision. If using makeup, go easy on the face and use products that won’t run or become itchy because it can decrease visibility. Popular among older kids are cosmetic contact lenses that make your eyes look like cat eyes. They may seem like fun, especially during Halloween. However, these lenses come with the same risks as regular contact lenses. Have a prescription and be sure your teen does not share these lenses with others.

No Halloween would be right without a Jack-o-Lantern. Carving   and decorating a pumpkin can be just as fun for visually impaired kids. Scooping out the insides gives a new sensory experience. Roast the seeds with your child or use the pumpkin for a baking project. Use flashlights, battery-operated flameless candles or glow sticks instead of candles to light your jack-o-lantern. If you don’t carve the pumpkin, your child can decorate it with puffy paint, tacky glue, googly eyes or other art supplies.   

Visually impaired children participating in traditional evening Halloween activities might face some challenges. So, carry a flashlight, wear glow bracelets and place reflective tape on clothing, shoes and of course a large bag for the treats that will be collected! Additionally, use a white cane.  It serves a dual purpose. A cane provides assistance with safe mobility and has some reflective properties. Drivers and other trick or treaters notice the red tape on the cane. If you are escorting a small child that does not use a white cane, hold their hands to avoid any trips and falls, especially walking around dim places and navigating stairs. You can also use the tandem method of holding on to a string, rope or the trick-or-treat bag, to keep everyone together.

Don’t be adventurous on Halloween night. Trick-or-treat in familiar neighborhoods. Treat during the daylight hours before it gets too dark or in community centers or shopping malls. Go to house parties with people you already know. Verbally communicate plans and activities with everyone involved. Listen carefully and pay attention to avoid and even scarier fright like getting lost. Have your child carry a cell phone listing emergency contacts.

Keep hands free. Serious trick-or-treaters need hands available to tote all that candy and goodies. Bring a backpack or messenger bag to store treats. Use a headlamp flashlight. Resist carrying any additional items with your costume like spears, wands, swords or other pointy objects. This will keep hands free and avoid eye injuries.

Finish a sweet and safe Halloween by checking candy and other treats. Throw away anything that looks suspicious, has been opened or is damaged.

Don’t let a vision impairment frighten you away from enjoying Halloween. With some pre-planning and following these safety tips you and your child will have a ghostly good time! 

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