For kids, Halloween is a time of dressing up in costumes, looking at spooky decorations, and getting a lot of free candy. There are some kids who enjoy every bit of this holiday and look forward to it every year. There are also kids who have Halloween fears and feel more anxious and scared.
Help Your Child Face Their Halloween Fears
If you have a kid who is more on the scared or anxious side, you can do things to help him/her have a more enjoyable Halloween.
Tell your child what to expect
Most kids can manage their Halloween fears much better when they are in situations where they know what to expect.
Before my daughter went trick-or-treating for the first time, we played trick-or-treating at home before Halloween night. I set up dolls in all the rooms. There was a bowl of candy next to each doll. We both dressed up in Halloween costumes, went up to each doll and said, “trick or treat.” Not only did she have a lot of fun playing, but it helped her understand what would happen on Halloween night.
Reading age-appropriate Halloween books to your child can also be helpful in preparing for Halloween. Some of my daughter’s favorite Halloween books were Mickey’s Halloween Treat and Dora the Explorer – Halloween Hoedown.
Avoid the scary-looking stuff
It might be tempting to dress up as a vampire this year with blood splattered around your neck. If you have toddlers or young children, I would probably skip the blood, gore and guts this year. These images can be especially frightening for young children.
Don’t avoid Halloween completely
If you have a child that is already frightened by anything Halloween-related, it might be tempting to skip out on anything that is related to Halloween. However, this isn’t recommended.
If you give in completely to your child’s fears and avoid exposing them to anything related to Halloween, you could be unintentionally reinforcing their fears. It’s understandable to keep them away from scary images.
However, you want to slowly expose your child to kid-friendly Halloween images and events (e.g. pumpkin patches, trick-or-treating events hosted specifically for toddlers, young children, etc).
Praise your child
When you slowly expose your child to friendly Halloween images and events, you want to provide praise as appropriate, particularly if he/she already had some fears beforehand. When my daughter was a toddler, she had some hesitations about walking near a Halloween aisle with fears that she might see scary images.
After she passed the aisle, I praised her for being brave and acknowledged that I knew it wasn’t easy for her. I knew that meant a lot to her.
Try daytime or indoor trick-or-treating
Although trick-or-treating is mainly known as a night-time event in the outdoors, there are many communities and organizations that host indoor or day-time trick-or-treating. This can be an option to explore for your toddler or young child to help ease any fears of Halloween.
Once you have these strategies in place, your kid can start to have an enjoyable Halloween experience.
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