Tips on Celebrating Halloween with Alzheimer's

Halloween is a time for fun and excitement for most people, but it can be a challenging time for seniors with Alzheimer’s. The scary costumes, decorations, and sounds associated with Halloween can be confusing and frightening for those experiencing memory loss. Here are some tips for making Halloween safe and enjoyable for seniors with Alzheimer’s:

  • Opt out of receiving trick or treaters. Have your loved one stay with you for the night so that trick or treaters do not disturb them. If this isn’t an option for you, post a sign over your loved one’s doorbell saying “Please do not disturb” and keep all front door lights off. The constantly ringing doorbell can cause confusion and agitation for your loved one.
  • Keep decorations to a minimum. Too many decorations can be overwhelming and confusing. Choose simple, non-scary decorations that your loved one will enjoy.
  • Avoid scary costumes. A costume that is too realistic or scary could frighten your loved one. Instead, choose a costume that is funny or whimsical.
  • Be prepared for changes in behavior. Some people with Alzheimer’s may become more agitated or confused on Halloween. Be patient and understanding, and try to redirect their attention to something else. Halloween can still be an enjoyable holiday for you and your loved one.

Here are alternative activities:

  • Visit a pumpkin patch. Picking out a pumpkin can be a fun, peaceful and rewarding activity. It also makes for lovely family pictures.
  • Make Halloween cookies or treats. Baking cookies or making Halloween treats is a great way to spend time together and create memories. Creating old family recipes is a great way to keep tradition, or you can keep it simple and have your loved one indulge in their favorite candy.
  • Look over old pictures of your childhood Halloween costumes. Looking over old pictures of you in costume with Mom or Dad can help connect them back to your parent-child relationship. You may catch a smile or a laugh, and even recall a memory together. This can also bring them back into the present where you can connect past Halloweens with the present-day.

The senior lifestyle consultants at Carefield Pleasanton are always available to answer your questions about memory care for your loved one, and the benefits of a community.