How to Be Inclusive This Halloween
Halloween is one of the most celebrated holidays in America. Over 70% of the country celebrates this spooky holiday in one way or another. While it can be a wonderful time for dressing up, playing games, and indulging in sweets, it can also be a time that is stressful, overwhelming, and potentially offensive to others. Taking a little time to get more knowledgeable about having a more inclusive Halloween will benefit your family and others! We’ve put together 7 ways you can be more aware and inclusive this October.
There are so many children and adults with allergies, intolerances, braces, etc. that prevent them from enjoying the normal Halloween treats and candies. Setting aside treats free from common allergens or little trinkets or toys can be a great way to give all trick-or-treaters or party guests options and help them feel more included in events.
In the last decade there have been many organizations who have developed color coded pumpkin initiatives to help with inclusivity during the holiday season. Whether you want to display these pumpkins at your home to demonstrate that you are participating, or someone you know wants to carry a different colored pumpkin as a signal to neighbors, here’s the meaning of each color:
- Teal pumpkins: non-food treats available/ food allergy
- Purple pumpkins: epilepsy awareness
- Pink pumpkins: breast cancer awareness
- Blue pumpkins: autism awareness
Make Your Home Accessible
If possible, consider ways to make getting to your door/treats a little easier for those who might have mobility issues. For example, if you have steps leading up to your door, try setting up your treat station towards the bottom of the steps. If this isn’t possible, be on the lookout for those who might have difficulties and do your best to meet them where they are.
Consider Your Costume
As a country we have gotten a lot smarter on our costume choices. But aside from steering away from cultural appropriation offenses, there are other costume missteps to be conscious of. Always shy away from dressing up and therefore mocking a marginalized group of individuals. For example, dressing up as a “mental patient” or other stereotypes can be very problematic. When in doubt, always do an ample amount of research before deciding on your costume.
Communicate with Friends and Family
Having open communication with those around you can be a great way to help your own family and those of others. If there is someone in your family who might need some accommodations to help enjoy the season, don’t be shy about communicating that to those around you. Conversely, if someone else’s family member could potentially struggle at this time, ask if there’s any way you can help.
Participate in Specialized Events
If you or someone you know might benefit from a specialized event such as a sensory- friendly Halloween party or allergen free event, take some time to research those in your community. There are also excellent groups on Facebook that offer events like this. Additionally, corporations such as Chuck E. Cheese and others are now offering events like this in certain communities.
If you can’t find something specialized, find or host alternative events that might be better suited for members of your family and friend circles. Community truck-or-treats, indoor trick-or-treating in shopping malls or apartment complexes, or smaller group parties can offer a more controlled environment.
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