A Halloween for All Abilities

We are already well into October and that means it’s time to start thinking about Halloween, if you haven’t already! From the costumes, to the candy to the decorations, there’s a lot going on this time of year. We came up with some tricks and treats on how to make it enjoyable for kids of all ages and abilities!


As an organization with theatrical roots, you can bet we love a good costume! Some great ideas for this year come straight from our Variety Theatre productions. Why not be a mermaid or a fish from Disney’s The Little Mermaid or Peter Pan – or a Lost Boy (or Girl!) – from Peter Pan? You can also go with your child's current favorite character, maybe Moana, Harry Potter or a Paw Patrol pup? 

If your child has unique abilities, however, finding the perfect fit may seem daunting. We found a great article here with some tips on how to create costumes that are easy and sensory friendly, including using already-loved sweatshirts or pajamas to make an outfit.

And if your child uses equipment to assist with mobility, why not use it to your creative advantage? A wheelchair, walker, stroller or even a wagon can become a princess carriage, a boat, a racecar, a rocket ship and so much more! The only limit is your imagination – and maybe a Pinterest or Google search. Here is a link to a great list we found.

Share your costumes with us for a chance to be featured in the weeks leading up to Halloween! Just load the photo and tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (@VarietySTL) or email them to Communications Manager Kara here.


Allergens and even sensory needs can make trick-or-treating a little, well, tricky when it comes to candy. We found this great list of Halloween candies that are made without the “top eight” allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, egg, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish) to help you determine what’s safe. We do still recommend you check those labels (but you already knew that!).

If you’re the one passing out the treats, consider handing out those from the list above. You can also think about handing out some fun non-food items – think bookmarks, glow sticks or stickers – and place a teal pumpkin by your door so others know you have them available.

You can also spread the word to your neighbors. This link has more details on the teal pumpkin movement as well as resources to help you raise awareness in your neighborhood.

Halloween Events

Trick-or-treating may be overwhelming to any kid, so consider ways to plan ahead to make it the best experience possible. If going door-to-door is out of the question, there are many trunk-or-treats throughout the area.

If you do want to visit houses, consider mapping out a route and walking it with your child ahead of time. This way, you can also see which houses have extra scary decorations that you may want to avoid! Also, consider going out while it is still light and before it gets crowded.

If your child uses sign language or a communication device to communicate, you could also use this as a fun time to learn how to say “trick or treat” or even a joke! Program a few things into the device ahead of time or learn a few new signs together – and then teach them to your neighbors while you’re out and about as well.

You can also find multiple family friendly and accessible Halloween events on our Fall Activities blog, or consider coming to our Fall Family Fun Fest on October 28!

We hope we gave you some ideas on how to make this Halloween the best one yet. Let us know if you have anything to add! And don’t forget to share those costumes!