Tag: halloween

Spooktacular Inclusive Halloween

Do you want your child with special needs to be able to participate and make memories this Halloween season? Great news, you can! Here are some tips and tricks to help children of all abilities have a spooktacular, inclusive Halloween.

  • Read a social story about Halloween multiple times to your child
  • Watch silly music videos about the Holiday
  • Practice in your house or at families houses in the weeks prior
  • Provide a visual schedule of steps if needed (ring bell, say “hi” or “trick or treat!”, hold out bag, say “thank you!”)
  • If your child is shy, has anxiety, sensory differences, or has limited language or communication difficulties, create a pre-made card for your child to hand to the household to say what your child cannot. 
  • Keep it short and simple if needed (goal: make it around the block; only do 10 houses and have child countdown to increase tolerance to activity)
  • Food intolerances or special diets? Replace your child’s candy with special foods that are more appropriate or swap with a new toy. Do some research into the fun tradition of the Switch Witch!
  • Work in tolerated exercise for your child (example: walk to one house, ride in the wagon to the next…repeat)
  • If your child does not want to walk up to people’s houses, you can still have them walk around outside and show off their costume. This is a great way to get exercise and practice waving at others. 
  • Have them help hand out candy. This is a fun way to practice their social skills and to work on counting. Practice some phrases they can say to trick or treaters before hand or offer a no-pressure way to wave or smile instead. 
  • Make sure your child’s costume is sensory friendly to their specific tactile needs. 

October is a great time to start talking to your Occupational Therapist about ways your child can participate in the many holidays to come. If your child is having difficulty participating in the upcoming Holidays, our team of therapists is here to help you find ways to make the holidays more enjoyable, click here to schedule a free screening and we’d be happy to discuss ideas with you!

Rebecca Brennan, OTR/L


Halloween Activity

Happy Halloween month! At BDI, the therapists have been incorporating Halloween vocabulary throughout their sessions!  This simple activity of stickers and real image vocabulary card can be used to target all different areas of communication, fine motor skills, and visual processing.  Targeting holiday specific vocabulary can help your child communicate in their community.  Why?  Because our kiddos are seeing Halloween items everywhere (i.e pumpkins on walks in their neighborhood to spooky spider displays at the grocery store)!   The following are examples of ways to achieve different developmental goals by using the same activity.

Halloween Bingo


Starting out, simply matching the animated sticker to the real image is a perfect way to help teach reality vs. fantasy and to make sure the child isn’t just memorizing one specific image!


The child imitates the vocabulary word and receives the sticker to mark as “complete”.

Independent labeling

The child labels the Halloween card or sticker independently

Receptive identification

If your child is a great talker but needs to work on his/her listening skills, you can ask your child questions!  For example, you can ask your child “where is the cat?” or “which one is round and orange?”.  Columns or rows can be covered to reduce the amount of items he or she is scanning.

Image description

After basic labeling is mastered, you can have your child be more descriptive with their request.  The child can request the “black cat” sticker, “scary spider”, “two bats”, “silly pumpkin” etc.

Simple requesting

“I want + vocabulary word” or “Can I have + vocabulary word”

Complex requesting

“I want the purple hat”; “I want the scary ghost”


Try finding all the final /t/ sounds in these fun Halloween words!

Are you looking for more ideas on how to make every day activities a little more festive?  Join our Talk and Groove class to learn about more ways to help your child develop their language and fine motor skills at home!

Spooky Speech

Speech Language Pathologists love a good theme!  Themes can unite all of our kiddos but allow scaffolding for every child’s needs.  They also allow for perfect home carryover for all our families!  Here are a few spooky speech activities that you can do with your children at home or in your community to promote speech and language development.



Books are fabulous!  You can target specific vocabulary, different grammar (i.e. prepositions), comprehension, sequencing, feelings, and speech sounds!  An example of a spooky themed book is Pete the Cat: Trick or Pete, an interactive book with flaps.  We love to practice our speech sounds with this particular book!  For example, the t sound is on every page with CAT and PETE!  


Sensory Bins:  

You cannot go wrong with a sensory bin!  They hold children’s attention and their bodies in one space.  Sensory bins can also encourage some spooky speech with what we call “focused stimulation”, when you pick a few words to target over and over again during play!  Spooky speech sensory bins can easily be made from items around your house or a few clicks from amazon! If you are in need of some inspiration Busy Toddler has fantastic options. 



Technology does not have to be a curse if used correctly!  There are so many books and programs that provide ample spooky speech opportunities! You can play Peppa Pig Pumpkin Party and pause the video, ask simple wh questions, name vocabulary items, make predictions, and try to recall details of the program!


Bingo Card:

A fan favorite at the clinic is using a free printable Halloween Bingo Card.  We use these for matching, naming, identifying, and speech sounds!  You can take the Bingo Card into your community (i.e. grocery store, on a walk, flashlight to find items around the house) for a scavenger hunt.  Target and Michaels have Halloween dollar-sticker-books that we use to say the spooky words as we match them to the bingo card. 


Halloween SweaterFestive Wear and Decor:

As cheesy as it may seem, children LOVE pointing out spooky vocabulary on clothing items and decorations.  If you are trying to be eco and/or budget friendly, we highly recommend looking at your local thrift store, facebook marketplace, or your parent’s house for the clothing and decorations!  Some of the best items come second hand!  Another more eco friendly, minimalist approach would be to get items that will be re-purposed or consumed!  I.E. a pie pumpkin, a wreath that can be decorated for all season with items found in nature! 

If you feel like your child’s speech and language development isn’t spook-tacular and you’d like to speak with someone about your pumpkin’s speech and language development, please call 708-478-1820 or visit our website to schedule a free screening


Written by Jessica Keenan, MA, CCC-SLP/L, inspired by Kristen Santoro, MA, CCC-SLP/L