Spreading Joy and Celebrating Ability on Halloween

My husband and I became foster parents soon after the birth of our first son.

Our family rapidly grew to a beautiful mix of wonderful littles who also happen to live with autism, food allergies, feeding tubes, wheelchairs, relational/attachment challenges, extreme anxiety/panic attacks, and the list goes on and on.

The unique needs of our children, coupled with the fact that we don’t appreciate the creepy aspects of the holiday, meant that we would need an out-of-the-box approach to Halloween.

Ignoring it completely seemed wrong because some of our children had knowledge of the holiday from previous homes and were looking forward to a celebration.

We felt it was important to find a way to acknowledge a day that had been special to them in previous years.

We did know that we wanted to take the focus away from darkness, fear, and the things our children are unable to do, instead focusing the day on fun, safety, and the spreading joy.

These concepts blossomed into a tradition that began last year and I hope continues in our family for many years to come. In the days leading up to Halloween, our family spent time baking cookies, coloring handouts, and creating fun costumes.

On Halloween day, we loaded up our van and headed to the local nursing home. Our sweet kids delighted the nursing home residents by visiting them one-by-one, showing off their fun costumes, and delivering them a special hand-colored card and yummy cookie.

Our children with food allergies and feeding tubes did not have to be excluded from candy and treats, our kiddos with relational/attachment challenges were not being taught to approach stranger’s doorsteps, our little one with autism did not have to obsess over what candy she would or would not receive, and there weren’t any tricky curbs, porch steps, or broken sidewalks to navigate with wheelchairs.

More than anything, our family was focused on how we can show love to others instead of focusing on our own gain and this caused joy to overflow from every angle.

However, just to make sure the experience was complete, we did hit the grocery store on the way home and let each child pick out a special treat of their own.

On a holiday that can tend to be focused on so many of the things that my children are afraid or unable to do, my family found a special way to celebrate our uniqueness and ability to bring joy to others—and have a whole lot of fun doing it.

About Micah Pederson

I am a mom to two children biologically and many children through foster care. My husband and I have been married three years. Our foster home is a specialized home for children with medical or special needs. I taught one year of special education before deciding to stay home with our many children. One of my greatest passions and desires is to be surrounded by individuals with special needs, loving them, learning from them, and advocating for them in world that often does not understand. I want to be a window and a light to show the world how amazing people with unique abilities are and I want to be a radiator of hope, joy, and unconditional love.

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