All Treats, No Tricks….or Tags: Sensory Fashion Expert Reveals Tips To Make Halloween Costumes Sensory Friendly
Halloween is a magical time for children wanting to dress up in their favorite character costumes and for parents wanting to snap some amazing pictures. Some children, though, struggle with sensory sensitivities, making a parent's job to find the perfect costume a little more difficult. To help, we contacted Julia DeNey, sensory-friendly fashion design expert and founder of Sense-ational You, who has witnessed firsthand the struggles of finding sensory-friendly clothing and is sharing valuable tips to navigate Halloween costumes with a little more ease this season.
Halloween costumes are known to be frilly and cute, but that also makes them uncomfortable! Always prioritize the type of fabric when choosing or crafting a costume. Natural, breathable fabrics like cotton are generally the most sensory-friendly.
“Try to avoid synthetic materials as they can cause overheating, sweat, or even irritate the skin. If the costume contains synthetic materials, ensure it's lined with a softer fabric to prevent direct contact with the skin,” suggests Julia.
Ditch the Tags
Tags can be incredibly irritating, especially for anyone with a sensory challenge! They can poke and scratch the skin and cause irritation. Find costumes without them, or take a few moments to remove them carefully.
“When shopping around for the perfect costume, make it a point to look for tagless options or those with printed labels to avoid mistakenly cutting through the costume or leaving some behind. Oftentimes, those tiny, left behind pieces are more sharp and make the costume more uncomfortable than it was to begin with,” comments Julia.
Pay Attention to The Seams
Seams, especially those that are thick or rough, can chafe the skin and feel uncomfortable. Look for costumes that have flat or minimal seams.
“Have you ever bought a shirt or a dress that looked wonderful at the store but the minute you tried it on, you felt itchy or like something was poking you? Those seams are hard to spot sometimes, so if your little one lets you, consider placing a soft, seamless underlayer beneath the costume as a buffer,” advises Julia.
Masks, hats, and wigs can often be itchy or overly tight. Masks can even make it difficult for little ones to see where they are going. Test any accessory before committing.
“Instead of full masks, consider using face paint made from natural ingredients. Choose soft, no-pressure headbands or decorative hoods if they can’t stand hats, and if wigs are a must, wear a soft cap underneath to make the experience better for your child,” comments Julia.
Can't find the ideal sensory-friendly costume in stores? Think about crafting your own! This way, there's total control over the materials and design.
“Making a costume might sound intimidating, but with the right tools and guidance, you can definitely put something together! For example, transform a cherished soft t-shirt into the base of a costume and expand from there with a couple of accessories,” suggests Julia.
Expect The Unexpected
Even after the effort that was placed into the costume, it is likely that children will want to take it off early or not want to wear it at all.
“Prepare ahead of time to make some changes or modifications, and remember that it will still be a fun experience whether they wear a costume or not,” says Julia.
Understanding and accommodating their sensory needs can help make Halloween enjoyable for everyone and help us learn how to celebrate neurodiversity so that everyone can join in on the fun! Remember to give children plenty of time to try on their costumes and give them control of certain aspects to help them feel confident on this spooky night!
Cover photo by Monstera Production