by Daniel Parker, RDPFS Intern
Halloween is upon us yet again, as are its attendant joys and challenges for those of us and our loved ones with visual impairments. One challenge is creating a costume which will mean something to a child with vision loss. Halloween Costumes: Things to Keep in Mind If Your Child is Visually Impaired, an article from the American Printing House’s Family Connect website, shares some ideas on how to tackle this. For example, a child with vision impairment may not share the interests of their sighted peers or may not want to portray a character. One suggestion to counter this is to prepare in advance for the holiday with your child, including pretend adventures to foster their interests and discussing costume ideas that fit with their preferences. Another idea is to create costumes that portray mainstream characters but stand out for a child with vision loss, due to the addition of tactile features or other adaptations, or else unusual costumes that will grab attention and remain interesting for your child. In my own experience, I have dressed as a train, a bird (in a sweater with feathers and a foam beak), and even an ice cream man with a wearable cardboard cutout of a truck, among others. The Perkins School for the Blind also has an article on Incorporating Blindness Canes into Halloween Costumes, if desired. Just as important as a good costume, if not more so, is safety. This article from Outlook Enrichment and this one from BrailleWorks both offer lists of safety tips to ensure a successful trick-or-treat or costume party. Among the safety tips cited: avoiding masks, face products, or clothes that will irritate children or reduce usable vision; practicing trick-or-treating routes beforehand; carrying a flashlight if a child has some sight; and traveling in groups. You can find more information by exploring the links above. Enjoy the holiday!