With Halloween creeping frighteningly close, here’s my Ghoulish Guide full of tips and tricks on how to make Halloween a spooktacular one for deaf kids!
The secret to a great hallows eve is getting prepared and planning the best bone-chilling, wicked costumes, awesome accessibility and devilish decorations!
Learn some hair-raising Halloween sign language!
Learn and teach your deaf kids and their friends/family some themed Halloween signs! They’ll come in handy on the night and it’s a great way of making them feel included.
Click here for Halloween signs! (link https://youtu.be/h5sS7K-9raY )
Carve your pumpkins!
Why not go for a deaf-themed pumpkin? It could be carving out haunting hearing aids or startling sign language hands? It’s a great way of raising deaf awareness and a good conversation starter for your deaf child and their friends!
We all want kids to be comfortable and warm on Halloween but there’s a couple of things to bear in mind for deaf kids!
Make sure their clothes fit over their hearing devices without interfering or producing feedback. If it protects their devices from the rain that’s fantastic!
Communication is key on Halloween, especially in the dark. Try to avoid anyone wearing masks but if they want to, aim for the easily removable ones so the deaf child can lipread when needed.
Here’s some crazy costume inspiration…
Dress up as a fear-inspiring famous Deaf person
Whether it’s Stranger Things’ actress Millie Bobby Brown, model Nyle Di Marco, composer Beethoven… the list goes on!
Be a supernatural superhEARo
Dress up as your favourite superhEARo and show off your magical deaf powers!
Hair-raising hearing aids and chilling cochlear implants
One of the best parts of their costume is being able to decorate their hearing technologies! It’s a perfect opportunity to grab some orange/black tape or Halloween stickers to pimp up their devices! Get creative and look online for inspiration!
Going Trick or Treating?
Light it up!
Take multiple torches, both handheld and head torches so the deaf child can see people’s lips/hands for sign language. Lighting is crucial, there’s nothing worse than trying to lipread in the dark! Take a notebook with you to write things down if they’re struggling to understand.
Wear a badge
It might be a good idea to wear a visible badge which says ‘I’m deaf’ or ‘I need to lipread’ which is good if they are in a group of friends or approaching people at their doors, so they are all are aware to face the deaf child when communicating.
Are they all charged up?
Deaf-initely check all batteries and assistive devices are charged up and ready to use before going out and take spares with you! Trust me, it’s better than fumbling around for replacements in the dark!
Check the weather!
Hopefully it will be dry but if it looks like it’s going to rain, take an umbrella or incorporate waterproofs into your child’s costume to protect those precious hearing devices. It might be good to take a tightly sealed box with you so if it’s pouring down, they can remove their devices and place in this box to keep them dry and safe.
It can be cold, so ensure they’re wrapped up warm with plenty of under layers and even a hat to keep their ears warm!
If you have a dry box at home, place the devices in for a few hours to soak any moisture up, ready for use the next day.
Be seen, be safe!
Incorporate some reflective clothing in their costume when out and about, so road users can see them. Please stay close to your child as they may not hear you if they wander off and you call their name. I suggest keeping a paper in their pocket with contact details and tell the child they get lost to give these details to someone.
Fancy a fang-tastic night in?
Have you got a deaf-friendly doorbell installed?
This alerts the deaf person to the terrifying trick or treaters at the door! There are loads of assistive technologies online which will make it eerily easy to know when they turn up! Don’t forget to have plenty of scary sweets at hand!
Halloween Movies? Subtitle it!
If you’re planning on watching a Halloween movie, don’t forget to check if it has subtitles! Popping the closed captions on will help make the deaf person feel included in the frightful fun!
Before doing any games with deaf children, make sure they’re accessible! Think of how to include them, if there’s any audio involved and how you can get around it. Use visual demonstrations to explain instructions. Ask them if they understood and repeat it if they’re unsure, and if need to write or type things down.
Last of all…
Have fun, stay safe and I hope you have a wicked night!