October 27, 2022 By CDHD 4 ways Halloween is becoming more inclusive The weather has cooled. The leaves are turning, and pumpkins are donning the doorsteps of homes across Idaho. It can only mean one thing – Halloween is upon us! It’s great to see everyone getting into the spirit but even greater to see the different ways the holiday is becoming more inclusive. As awareness continues to rise to the top of our collective consciousness, many are taking strides to ensure that all children can participate in the fun. Here are four cool ways Halloween is becoming more inclusive (and how you can participate to ensure a fa-boo-lous holiday for everyone)! Accessible and adaptive costumes In recent years, chain stores have started to stock accessible and adaptive Halloween costumes. These are costumes that are designed with additional features built in to make them suitable for children with disabilities. Think magnets, Velcro and pull tabs instead of zippers. Softer materials with flat seams and no tags for children with tactile or skin sensitivities. Openings in the back to make them easier to get on and off. Some also have hidden pockets and openings for devices such as braces and wheelchairs. Major retailers such as Disney, Target and Spirit Halloween offer accessible and adaptive costume lines, making it easier for families to peruse and purchase a costume. Teal Pumpkin Project This project was inspired by a local awareness activity run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET). Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) teamed up with FACET to create the national Teal Pumpkin Project. The aim is to make trick-or-treating more inclusive by offering non-food alternatives for children with food allergies or other children for whom candy is not an option. This helps to ensure that all children can have a safe and fun Halloween! It’s easy to participate: Buy a non-food trick-or-treat option. Place a teal pumpkin on your doorstep to indicate that you have non-food treats available. If you’d like, you can even drop a pin on the Teal Pumpkin map to indicate to others in your area that you’re participating in the Project. Purple Pumpkin Project Founded by Ron Lamontagne whose son was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of four. In October 2012, he decided to paint his Halloween pumpkin purple and tell people about epilepsy when they asked about the colorful gourd. This simple act grew into the national Purple Pumpkin Project supported by the Epilepsy Foundation. Each year, people across the US register to participate. Once registered, they’re provided with a fundraising page where they can share their story and show off their purple pumpkins. Many communities use it as an opportunity to pull together events, with all raised funds going toward the fight to end epilepsy. If you’d like to participate but are not able to register or hold a fundraiser, not to worry! You can still get in on the fun. Simply paint your pumpkin purple and raise awareness. Don’t forget to share your story and pumpkin pics on social media (#purplepumpkinproject)! Inclusive trick-or-treating events Inclusive trick-or-treating events are becoming more and more common as families across the US recognize the need for safe and welcoming environments for Halloween fun. While there are a few inclusive Halloween tips anyone can follow to make trick-or-treating welcoming for all kids, some communities are taking things a step further. For example, New York’s mayor launched the Trick or Streets initiative in 2020. The aim is to make certain streets pedestrian only during designated times through the month of October. This allows children and families to safely enjoy Halloween activities at the street level. The initiative has only grown over the last two years, now expanding to over 100 streets throughout the city. At a local level, Harvest Festivals and trunk-or-treats are gaining popularity. Often held in accessible areas with level grounds, clear paths and plenty of space, these are a great option for children with disabilities. And, given they are family-friendly events, loud and/or scary decorations are minimal. There are trunk or treats happening in cities across Idaho. Check your local community calendar or Chamber of Commerce to see what’s happening in your neck of the woods.