Bright lights, talking to strangers and staying up late are popular traditions of those who celebrate Halloween—all of which can be overwhelming and scary for your kiddos with differences and disabilities. Making sure your child feels comfortable and safe is key to ensuring this fall season is a breeze. We’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of safe, sensory-friendly events in the Dallas-Fort Worth area so your little ones can still enjoy a not-so-spooky Halloween. Take the stress out of holiday planning with these fright-free fall festivities.
Sensory Friendly Indoor Halloween Event
Where: Southlake PediaPlex // 2425 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake
When: Thursday, Oct. 24, 6:30–8:30pm
The Basics: The entire Southlake PediaPlex clinic will be decorated for Halloween (sans the scary!) with Cookie Monster, Monsters Inc. characters and pumpkins to name a few. The lights will be kept on during the event to keep surprises at a minimum. The event is open to the public, so invite your friends and family to this non-spooky Halloween event. There will be a light dinner from vendors in the DFW area as well as complimentary gluten-friendly candy for your little ones. Don’t forget your treat bag for all of the candy your kiddos will collect!
Dallas Trick-or-Treat Party!
Where: Dallas Nursing Institute // 2101 Waterview Parkway, Richardson
When: Friday, Oct. 25, 5:30–7:30pm
The Basics: Therapy and Beyond and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology are partnering up to bring you a trick-or-treat party for the special needs community and their families. There will be candy, a bounce house, pumpkin painting, a photo booth and more. (Pssst—it even has a costume contest!)
Cost: Free (RSVP not required but appreciated)
Halloweekend: Quiet Hour
Where: Dallas Zoo // 650 S RL Thornton Freeway, Dallas
When: Saturday, Oct. 26; quiet hour from 8–9am as well as a designated quiet zone will be open until 11am
The Basics: Enjoy a reduced simulatory Dallas Zoo experience with your munchkins. There will be hands-on activities, games, bounce houses and more! As needed, there will be a quite zone in their Tiger Classroom. Candy stations will open at 9am (for regular Halloweekend activities) and a non-food item will be given to those that show the Quiet Hour wrist band. Please note that after 9am, sound and light operations will resume their usual procedures, but the Tiger Classroom will remain open until 11am for your kids with sensory challenges.
Cost: Free for Zoo Members (must preregister); $6 per child or adult for non-members
10th Annual Especially Needed Fall Carnival
Where: McKinney National Airport // 1500 E. Industrial Blvd., McKinney
When: Saturday, Oct. 26, 4–7pm
The Basics: Celebrating their 10th annual Fall Carnival this year, Especially Needed created this fall festivity specifically for those with special needs. There will be games, food prizes, Zoe the Clown, Trick-or-Treat Street, stilt walkers and so much more for your little ones to enjoy. Everyone is encouraged to come in costume (parents too!) that are kid-friendly and appropriate.
Cost: Free; must RSVP for a time slot for your family (either 4–5:30pm or 5:30–7pm)
4th Annual Boo Bash: It’s A Sensory World!
Where: It’s a Sensory World! // 12617 Neutron Road, Dallas
When: Sunday, Oct. 27, 5–8pm
The Basics: During their annual Halloween Carnival, open to the entire community, It’s a Sensory World! offers families a way to practice the concept of trick-or-treating in a sensory- and communication-friendly environment. There will be non-edible and edible treats (yay for the kiddos with severe food allergies!). This event also features carnival games, a costume dance, bounce houses and their beloved Boo Bus!
Colleyville Trick or Treat Party
Where: Therapy and Beyond Colleyville // 3203 Colleyville Blvd., Suite 100, Colleyville
When: Tuesday, Oct. 29, 5:30–7:30pm
The Basics: This Halloween party has outdoor and indoor trick-or-treating crafts, candy, a costume contest with prizes, cookie decorating (yes please!) as well as many other sensory-friendly activities. Be at ease knowing your little ones will trick or treat in a safe environment among Therapy and Beyond’s dressed up therapists. Friends and family are welcome!
Cost: Free (RSVP not required but appreciated)
Fort Worth Alliance: Critters and Costumes
Where: Behavioral Innovations Fort Worth Alliance // 12650 N. Beach St., Suite 146, Fort Worth
When: Wednesday, Oct. 30, 6–7:30pm
The Basics: Dress your littles up and come out to Fort Worth Alliance to meet furry, sensory-friendly animals. Their applied behavior analysis (ABA) specialists are eager to help provide a safe and spook-free environment for your disabled children. Family and friends are invited!
For more information on how to prepare your child with sensory challenges or austism spectrum disorders for Halloween, see our article: How to Prepare Your Child With Special Needs for Halloween
Image courtesy of iStock.