Many people assume Halloween is a visual holiday; with all the decorations, scary movies, costumes, and trick-or-treating. But there are many ways to make Halloween more inclusive for people with visual impairments.
Sometimes – especially when people are wearing costumes or disguises – it’s not easy to tell whether someone has a visual impairment. The tips below are good practice in all situations, including if trick-or-treaters have food allergies or intolerances, sensory challenges, or social anxiety.
Here are 4 simple tips to make Halloween more inclusive.
TIP 1: Create a safe space.
If your entryway has steps or obstacles, consider placing your decorations and treats in an easy-to-reach area so people with mobility and visual disabilities can still access the contents. Also consider adding soft lighting to help guide people around, avoid hazards, or retrieve anything they may drop.
TIP 2: Use other communication styles.
If visually impaired or blind trick-or-treaters come to your door, it’s helpful to announce yourself and describe what you’re giving them. You can do this subtly such as “here’s a wrapped candy for you…” or “would you prefer stickers or chocolate?”. That way you’re creating a more inclusive experience they can still participate in together. It’s also worth mentioning that not everyone will respond or acknowledge you verbally and that’s ok too.
TIP 3: Provide a selection of treats.
Not everyone is able to have edible treats (for a variety of reasons) so having alternatives such as crayons or stickers is a great way to be inclusive without breaking the bank. Many parents and caregivers prefer these options for their children anyway! You can also display a teal pumpkin to indicate that you have non-food treats available.
TIP 4: Play to the senses.
Create audio and tactile experiences as well as visual ones. For example, many smart doorbell companies allow you to customize your ring, so you could set it to play spooky music. Alternatively, you could decorate part of your doorway with cotton spider webs or slime. Be mindful of volume (both audible and physical) so as not to overwhelm the senses.