Halloween can be a fun, exciting time for a child. The costumes, parties, and especially the candy!
But the focus on scary things like ghosts, monsters, zombies and spiders may scare the excitement out of your child. There are certain things you can do to ease some of your children’s fears and get them acclimated to the fun that Halloween can offer. Keep reading for tips on how to make Halloween less scary for your child!
- Start preparing early: Know your child, if your child is more sensitive and prone to fear, start preparing your child early for all that Halloween entails. Let them know it is all pretend and its intention for children is to have fun.
- Demystify decorations and costumes: Do not go completely out of your way to bypass the scary stuff, this can actually worsen the fear. Instead try to familiarize them. Go to a Halloween store and show them that the decorations and masks are nothing more than just plastic and paint. You can also do a craft with your child that portrays a scary character in a fun way!
- Adjust Expectations: Remember that this holiday is meant for them to have fun and get some candy. Adjust expectations with your child in mind. They may just want to put on a pair of overalls and call themselves a farmer. Do not push them to wear extravagant costumes. They also may just want to go to 3 or 4 houses when trick-or-treating, which is completely fine.
- If you have older children that you think will want to stay out longer, plan ahead so an adult can take them while you take your other child back to the house to help hand out candy! The older children can also be helpful while trick-or-treating: have the older child approach the door first. This may help ease the nervousness of what could be on the other side of the door.
- Prioritize sleep: Ensure your child is getting to bed on time the nights leading up to Halloween so that they are well-rested. Rest is helpful for processing new information, managing emotions and decreasing anxiety.
- Pay attention to your child’s reactions: Children do not make up feelings. They need our help to sort through them. Remember: if your child becomes scared to stop and listen to what their fear is and explain to them that you understand before you start to tell them why they do not need to be afraid. Always remember to explain why, rather than just telling them not to be scared.
Halloween is a fun, exciting holiday. Helping your child get through their fears will allow them to see the holiday for what it really is – free candy! Children can learn and tolerate being scared if they can understand they are safe. Learning how to tolerate fear is an important part of finding confidence and learning that they are able to handle unfamiliar, disorienting and scary situations.