JA-friendly Alternatives to Halloween Activities

JA-friendly Alternatives to Halloween Activities
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Despite being the biggest scaredy-cat who ever lived, I enjoyed some Halloween festivities as a child. While I avoided haunted houses and scary movies like the plague, I loved doing fall crafts, choosing a costume, and going trick-or-treating with my friends.

But Halloween was always a very long day, and I paid dearly for all those fun activities and walking around the neighborhood with friends. Juvenile arthritis (JA) doesn’t take a break, not even on Halloween.

The holidays can sometimes be difficult for children with JA. Halloween, in particular, can be challenging, between being expected to stay up late, walking and pushing your limits, and doing activities kids may not be used to. It’s no surprise some kids may come away from Halloween festivities feeling tired or sore. 

Instead of carving pumpkins …

Confession time: I’ve never carved a pumpkin. It’s never really appealed to me. That said, I have helped others with their pumpkins, and wow, it seems like a lot of work. The gutting and cutting took a lot of work, and the tools’ handles weren’t very ergonomic. Friends told me their hands hurt a little after finishing their pumpkins, so I can’t imagine how a child with JA would feel.

Decorate them!

Paint them! Stick a hat on one! Cover them in stickers and glitter glue. Whatever satisfies your child’s inner artist. There are so many fun ways to decorate a pumpkin without cutting it open.

Alternatively, if carving pumpkins is something your child really wants to do, you can find foam pumpkins to carve at the Dollar Tree. Foam pumpkins are much less dense, so cutting is easier, plus clean up is a breeze.

Instead of bobbing for apples …

Bobbing for apples seems to be a staple of most Halloween parties for children. I remember bobbing for apples once during a party in preschool, and I shudder to think about how I was so happy to eat the apple afterward. I’m glad I wasn’t taking DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs) or biologics at the time, as they can lower the ability to fight infection.

Hang doughnuts for a hands-free eating contest

Who doesn’t love doughnuts? A doughnut eating contest, in which everyone gets their own pastry, is far cleaner than bobbing for apples. It also makes for some great, silly pictures!

Instead of walking endlessly during trick-or-treating …

My favorite part of Halloween was always trick-or-treating. I loved dressing up and getting to go door to door with my friends. But all the walking can quickly wear down someone with JA. Quite often I remember feeling wiped out and cranky after coming home from trick-or-treating. 

Decorate a wagon or mobility device for your child to rest on 

Your child doesn’t have to stay in the wagon or wheelchair the entire Halloween evening (unless they’re experiencing a lot of fatigue that day). But riding in it on the way to the houses can help conserve their energy and stave off pain. They may especially appreciate it on the walk home after a night of running around.

There are so many great online tutorials to show you how to decorate a wagon or wheelchair for Halloween. Cardboard boxes can go far, from creating a pirate ship to the Mystery Machine.

Make it your own

Everyone enjoys Halloween in their own way, including kids with JA. For some kids, pushing past the pain to walk the entire neighborhood is 100% worth it. Others may prefer to stay home and pass out candy, admiring everyone’s costumes. And some may enjoy attending a small party instead of going trick-or-treating. It’s all a matter of preference.

How does your family celebrate Halloween? Please share in the comments below.

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Note: Juvenile Arthritis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Juvenile Arthritis News, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to juvenile arthritis.

Elizabeth Medeiros is a young adult who has dealt with juvenile arthritis since she was a small child. However, her pain hasn’t stopped her from working on a product design degree in Boston. Her passion is to create products that make life easier for the chronically ill, such as shoes and walking canes. When she’s not in class, Elizabeth enjoys writing about how she’s coped with arthritis at such a young age. You can find more of her writings at ArthritisGirl.Blogspot.com and on Instagram @GirlWithArthritis.
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Elizabeth Medeiros is a young adult who has dealt with juvenile arthritis since she was a small child. However, her pain hasn’t stopped her from working on a product design degree in Boston. Her passion is to create products that make life easier for the chronically ill, such as shoes and walking canes. When she’s not in class, Elizabeth enjoys writing about how she’s coped with arthritis at such a young age. You can find more of her writings at ArthritisGirl.Blogspot.com and on Instagram @GirlWithArthritis.

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