Halloween and Dementia – 6 Tips for Success

Halloween, is one of those special holidays that is not only fun for kids but conjures up loads of nostalgia for older adults as well. If you are caring for a loved one with memory impairment you may be thinking that Halloween would be thrilling for a loved one who may still have their long term memory firmly in-place.  You may be correct in your thinking. However, depending on the individual with dementia, such a holiday may cause more confusion, fear and agitation. It is important to realize that what you may see as a seasonal decoration could be seen as a horrifying monster to your loved one. All of the small details that go into celebrating this holiday may not seem so small to a person with memory impairment. These 6 tips will get you started on the right track for avoiding additional holiday stress.

  1. Avoid using candles and instead use battery operated, flame-less candles
  2. Put pumpkins and decor up on tables to avoid tripping
  3. Avoid stores with motion activated scary sounds or life like spooky decorations that are voice activated
  4. Avoid using music with creaking doors, ghost screaming and other scary sounds.
  5. Try non-scary decorations like pumpkins and fall leaves vs. scary ghost and witches
  6. If you don’t want the door bell ringing, as an alternative try placing candy outside in a bowl, with a sign that says “please take one”.  The candy may not last long, but people will get the hint that you aren’t coming to the door.