Celebrating Halloween with Dementia

It’s October, nearly time for little ghosts and goblins to roam the streets on Halloween night. Halloween offers the chance to add some fun holiday-themed activities to break up the daily routine of your aging relative. However, it can be hard to find appropriate activities for people with dementia to do. In addition, for some, Halloween can be scary and pose some safety risks.

Keeping Halloween Safe

For some seniors with dementia, Halloween can be confusing because of the costumes and spooky decorations. To keep your aging relative safe and comfortable during the holiday, try using these tips:

  • Senior Care in Okemos MI: Celebrating Halloween with Dementia

    Senior Care in Okemos MI: Celebrating Halloween with Dementia

    Don’t go overboard on decorating. Too many decorations can be frightening. Also, stay away from scary decorations, tombstones, and things that make sudden noises or have flashing lights.

  • Don’t use candles to light jack-o-lanterns. They can be a fire safety risk.
  • If costumes upset your loved one, avoid places where children are trick-or-treating. Place a bowl of candy at your door for children instead of having them ring the bell or knock on the door.
  • Keep candy in a safe place. People with dementia usually have poor judgement, so they may eat an entire bag of candy in one sitting, which could make them ill.
  • Offer a distraction during trick-or-treat hours, such as a favorite movie or activity.
  • If the older adult does become upset by something they see, speak to them in a reassuring manner and try to move them away as quickly as possible.

Fun Activities for Older Adults with Dementia

The kinds of activities a senior with dementia might enjoy depends on the stage of dementia they are in. During the early stages, they may still enjoy trick-or-treating. If so, it’s perfectly acceptable to take them out with their grandchildren or allow them to help you answer the door. Some other activities they may enjoy are:

  • Modified Apple Bobbing: While bobbing for apples in the traditional manner may not be a good idea, you can alter the activity to make it fun and safe. Try putting water in a large bowl or bucket and having the senior use a spoon or ladle to “bob” for them.
  • Pipe Cleaner Webs: Invite the older adult to help make decorations for the house, such as spider webs made from pipe cleaners. Use pipe cleaners to make a star shape with six to eight points. Then, wrap yarn around the points, moving around the shape in a circle. You can even make cute spiders with googly eyes and pipe cleaner legs. Use a pom pom or ping pong ball for the body.

There are many other fun things older adults with dementia can do to celebrate Halloween. Senior care providers can help them to enjoy the season by assisting them with activities and crafts. Senior care can help the older adult to decorate the house, making sure all decorations are safe. A senior care provider can also stay with your loved one on Halloween to ensure they are not frightened by trick-or-treaters.



If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Okemos, MI, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Lansing. Call today: 517-332-9953.