Disability Resource Library Newsletter

October 2022 - Halloween

Trick or Treat!

Halloween is around the corner. It is the time for pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, and crisp fall evenings that so many children and families look forward to. The tradition originated with the ancient Celtic harvest festival, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off spirits. Over the centuries, Halloween has transitioned from the pagan ritual to a day of parties, costumes, candy, and fun. Modern day traditions for celebrating the spooky season include trick-or-treating, fall festivals, costume parties, haunted houses, and hay rides. Check out your community’s Halloween events!

A photo of children picking out pumpkins

Featured Resources

All featured resources are available to borrow from the DRL

Browse more resources.

Ghosts (young adult novel; fiction)

the cover fo Ghosts

By: Telgemeier, Raina

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret; there are ghosts in Bahia de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake - and her own. “A wonderful adventure... a must read.”

Ghosts in my Brain - How a Concussion Stole My Life

By: Elliott, Ph.D., Clark

In 1999, Clark Elliott suffered a concussion when his car was rear-ended. Overnight his life changed from that of a rising professor with a research career in artificial intelligence to a humbled man struggling to get through a single day. At times he could not walk across a room or even name his five children. Doctors told him he would never recover. Remarkably, Elliott kept detailed notes throughout his experience, from the moment of impact to the final stages of his recovery, astounding documentation that is the basis of this fascinating book. "The Ghost in My Brain" gives hope to the millions who suffer from head injuries each year and provides a unique and informative window into the world's most complex computational device, the human brain.

No Such Thing

No Such Thing cover

By: French Koller, Jackie
Illustrated by: Lewin. Betsy

There is no such thing as a monster, and certainly no such thing as a monster under the bed. That is what Howard's mother tells him. There is no such thing as a boy, and certainly no such thing as a boy on top of a bed. That is what Monster's mother tells him. But no matter what their mothers say, Howard and Monster remain afraid of the dark . . . until one spooky night when both face their deepest fears. Jackie French Koller and Betsy Lewin have created a "monster-under-the-bed" story that offers the perfect cure for fear of the dark--laughter!

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

By: Edwards, Kim

The author has created a tale of regret and redemption of characters haunted by their past. Crafted with language so lovely you have to reread the passages just to be captivated all over again.

Featured Technology

Browse more technologies.

Video Magnifier - CANDY 5 HD II

A handheld 5" LCD HD video magnifier with a unique, ergonomic 3-position handle that can be comfortably held in the center-balanced position, for right-handed or left-handed use. Continuous zoom magnification from 2.5x - 22x. Vision item.

a photo of the Candy 5 HD Zoom – it has a large screen in the center and two large color coded buttons on either side

See 4 Safety Mobility Light

Move around safely in dark or dimly lit areas. The compact See 4 Safety Mobility Light provides automatic, hands-free illumination for users of walkers, rollators and canes. This easy to use clip-on light turns itself on when in motion and when it senses a low-level light environment. The intelligent light then turns itself off after 30 seconds if there is no motion or when it senses a well-lit environment.

Navigation Tips

For a child with special needs, such as physical disabilities, sensory difficulties, or food allergies, Halloween traditions can look very different. The opportunity to participate in experiences such as Halloween parties, hay rides, and wearing costumes may not be awarded to every child due to a lack of accommodations and other challenges. However, there are ways to promote inclusion so that every child can participate in the Halloween fun...

a photo of a baby wiht down syndrome dressed up as a witch

Prevent the spread of germs by wearing a fun or spooky mask, have hand sanitizer available for trick-or-treaters, and place your candy bowl in front of you to keep your distance.

Keep the ground clean, clear, and smooth where you will be giving out treats. Ensure there is a clear path to the treats free of rocks or uneven ground so that a person in a wheelchair could move over. Try cleaning up or moving your treat station to the sidewalk or onto the street's edge.

Ensure your treat station is well lit and consider using bold and contrasting colors to guide the way.

Consider giving out sensory-friendly, non-candy goodies and if you do have a candy alternative option, place a teal pumpkin in a visible location to signal to applicable parents and children. *Pro-tip – Use pinata filler toys.

Not all children will wear a costume, the itchiness of the costume or the restrictiveness of the mask can be a challenge for lots of kids. Those who do might become overstimulated.

Not all children say "trick-or-treat" and not all children will say “thank you” but that doesn’t make them less deserving. There are lots of reasons a child can’t or won’t speak.

Parents can prepare for events by walking the route in advance and noting any rough terrain, steps or curbs, etc. that might make navigation difficult.

Parents can prepare their child before big events by watching Halloween themed cartoons and movies, practicing saying “trick-or-treat”, and discussing Halloween aspects such as dressing up, being in crowded streets, scary decorations, etc.

Take advantage of community events that advertise as being accessible or sensory-friendly or opt to do something smaller-scale such as a Halloween themed art class, local trunk-or-treats, drive-in movies, or other non-traditional events.

a photo of a woman passing out candy to tricker treaters

A Child's Champion

a photo of Kevin Steurer sitting in  his helicopter

Kevin Steurer is currently the RN Manager of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital and the former PICU transport nurse where he transported critically ill pediatric patients for medical attention. He has been caring for children of West Virginia and surrounding regions for the past ten years and ensuring they have access to quality care right here in West Virginia. Kevin has been involved in the development and designing of the new WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital that is scheduled to open in Fall 2022. He identifies this opportunity as a major highlight of his career so far, alongside being named a 40 Under 40 Nurse Leader of West Virginia. “I had leukemia as a child and have known since then that I wanted to be a nurse. When I came here for school, I knew this is the place that I wanted to call home and a place where I wanted to be able to give the best care to children.” Kevin strives to have a lasting impact on a child and their family by offering them a sense of hope and comfort while under his care.

Keep doing the amazing things you do, Kevin. The state of West Virginia thanks you for your contributions.