Choosing a Halloween Costume for the Sensory Child

Halloween costumeThe wrong Halloween costume can create a scary Halloween for the sensory child.

For the sensory child, everyday encounters involving touch can become a monumental issue. An over or under sensitivity to touch and texture can make eating, showering and getting dressed a real challenge.

This challenge can make the annual choosing of a Halloween costume a frightening event. The sensory child may find the myriad textures of super hero and monster costumes just too intolerable and uncomfortable due to tactile sensitivities. One child may prefer a loose fitting costume – another, something that fits snugger. Sometimes seams or tags are the culprits. Evaluate what your child is comfortable with for his everyday attire then seek costumes that fit those criteria.

Something else to consider is the time and place where your child tries on his costume. Children with tactile sensitivities are often in a state of hypersensitive alertness and high arousal. Try on Halloween costumes at a time when the child is calm and without agenda.

Perhaps wearing familiar, comfortable clothing under their costume might be the easiest fix when the “perfect” costume isn’t perfectly comfortable. Washing the costume before wearing and a trial run may also be beneficial to ensuring a successful and happy “trick-or-treating” experience.

And in case all those precautions fail at the last minute and your child’s first choice costume just isn’t working out, prepare to have a “backup” costume made from your child’s tried and true favorite clothing. Being prepared helps keep the situation light and everyone smiling.

Happy Halloween!

The Holiday Break for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder


The joy of the holiday time is upon us and there is nothing more exciting for a parent than to watch their little one enjoy the childhood traditions of the season.  But while it is among the most special and cherished times of the year, it can also be a challenging one as children are out of their usual school routine for two to three weeks.

This break in anticipated schedules and activities can be especially unsettling for a child dealing with developmental challenges or with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).  The holiday routine – the parties, the shopping, the larger than life decorations– for some, may be a source of over stimulation.  Parents can help their little one to ease through the season with a few helpful hints:

holiday break for sensory child

  • Try to stick to the most normal “holiday period” routine, as possible (keeping mealtimes and bedtime on schedule).
  • If at all possible, build in lots of downtime and try not to overexert or tire your child – dragging them from one social commitment to the next with no break.
  • Prepare activities – in advance – to engage and share with your little one that provide healthy, enjoyable ways to channel their focus.  Ideas include themed arts and crafts, cookie making, holiday shape pasting, construction paper “loop” making for the family tree, etc.
  • Enjoy holiday music listening, quiet book reading, and story telling together to help bring to life holidays past – without the stress of over-activity.
  • Create new family traditions that siblings can share to help your child feel that he or she is part of something special – and a unique and respected member of the household during the holidays and year round.

Most importantly, remember that the New Year will bring a return to calmer days and that the excitement and buzz of the December season comes only once every 12 months.

Handling the Hustle and Bustle of the Holidays

Mom and Dad set the tone at home during the holidays.

We often think about how our children will experience the holiday season, but what about Mom and Dad?  The holidays can be the most joyful, yet stressful time of the year.  And, sometimes it isn’t the kids we really need to worry about, but ourselves!  How parents handle the holiday season will have a direct impact on what their kids take away.  And since the holidays can be an especially magical time for little ones, it’s important that parents remember to take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

Here are a few tips to ensure a more relaxing holiday season:

avoiding stress during the holidays

  • Try not to take it all so seriously.  The holidays will happen whether we’re “ready or not.”   Sit back and remember to enjoy the season.  Also don’t forget that the traditions your family celebrates are all routed in another meaning – and they usually don’t involve parties and gifts! Try to remember why we honor the holidays in the first place.
  • Give yourself – and your family – a break by not over scheduling social commitments, gatherings and festivities.  When you try to do too much, you risk missing it all.
  • Build in couples-only time for you and your spouse to “take five” and sneak away for a reprieve from the holiday madness.  Arrange for a babysitter, family member or friend to watch your children and enjoy a solo dinner or even a stroll through your neighborhood to catch the holiday lights.
  • Remember that for your little ones, the holidays are already filled with awe and joy because they’re different from the routine.  Many parents try to too hard to make it all special when it already is.  The only thing for parents of children who have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) issues to keep in mind is to shelter their little ones from noisy parties; the over-stimulation of lights, music and commotion; and unfamiliar family members that hug, kiss and touch kids who may be uncomfortable with that kind of attention.  By being aware of the “sensory world,” parents can help their children to be more at ease, and, in turn, can ensure a more relaxed holiday experience for the whole family.
  • Try to grab a little extra sleep, take a warm bath, indulge in one extra treat at the buffet table, and – if you can afford the time and cost – let yourself be pampered, even if it’s only for one hour.  Even parents deserve a little something extra from Santa because the joy of the season should always come for grown-ups too!
Child Success Center
2023 S. Westgate Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Call 310-899-9597 to access our “warm” line.
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