Halloween is the time of year where everyone seems to get really excited to dress up in cool costumes, go trick or treating, and watch scary movies. However, for kids who are blind or partially sighted, it might look a little different.
Growing up as a kid with low vision kid who was blind in one eye, had really bad depth perception, and couldn’t see in the dark, Halloween took on a whole new level of scary. It wasn’t the idea of spooky monsters or anything like that. I actually loved dressing up in my costume and taking part in all the activities my school had to offer. It was the darkness that scared me, especially given that I was very night blind, which made the entirety of Halloween more than a little difficult.
One thing most families do for Halloween is carve pumpkins. This was one part of Halloween I really enjoyed doing, and my Mom always made it really inclusive for me. I would decide on whatever kind of face I wanted my pumpkin to have, then my Mom would draw a stencil of the face in a thick black marker so that I could see the outline to follow when I carved. This made it really easy, accessible and fun for me. I also loved it that we always roasted the pumpkin seeds afterwards. As fun as this was, there was always that one part of Halloween that I didn’t enjoy quite as much. Of course this was the main event of the night, trick or treating.
As it came time for trick or treating, I was of course excited to get candy, but I also knew it was going to be a little difficult because of my night blindness. I always went with my siblings so I knew I had them to help me if I needed it, which was good. I remember we would always leave a bit early before it got too dark, so that I would be able to see better. But of course it gets dark faster in the Fall, so my Mom always gave me a small flashlight to bring just in case. I was always really scared of decorated or “haunted houses” because they were always lit darker in order to make them more scary-looking and because sometimes things would jump out at you. In these situations I would wait at the end of the driveway and my siblings would bring me back some candy.
Another major issue I had trick or treating was tripping and falling, quite often spilling all my candy. Where I grew up we would always have snow by Halloween, and often there would be ice patches in the driveways that I couldn’t see in the dark. So way more often than not, as we’d be walking back down the driveway I would slip on the ice, spill all my candy and have to pick it all up. This would happen multiple times in a night. So you can imagine my frustration and annoyance at having to constantly pick up spilled candy. Needless to say, trick or treating wasn’t my most favourite part of Halloween.
It wasn’t all bad though. My family always ended Halloween night in a really fun way. We had a tradition in which we would blow up our pumpkins with fireworks. After trick or treating we would all sit by the big window in the living room, warm up, eat candy, and watch the fireworks. So even though Halloween has never been my most favourite celebration, there was always fun parts to counteract the scary parts, darkness and night blindness aside.
by Jill Sloane