Halloween can be an exciting time for kids. Trick-or-treating for candy, dressing up in different costumes and looking at all the Halloween decorations in the neighborhood can be fun for some children. However, some kids might not look forward to Halloween or might experience more stress during this time of year. There are some ways, though, to help decrease the fear.
Trick or treat in the light
Trick or treating is not just an activity to do during the night. Some cities also hold trick or treating events in downtown areas during the daytime. Indoor trick or treating in malls and community centers are also common. Check your local community news on trick or treating events going on during the day or in an indoor lighted area.
You don’t want your kid to be completely removed from anything Halloween-related. If you completely remove their exposure to Halloween, you are unintentionally maintaining or strengthening their fears. Instead, gradually expose them to Halloween by starting out with “non-threatening” themes. For example, start out by taking them to the local pumpkin patch instead of walking down the store aisle with fake blood and scary masks.
Practice trick or treating inside your home before the real trick or treating event.
Have your kids wear the costume a few times at home to help them get used to it before the big event. You might also want to help them practice trick or treating inside your home. You can pretend each room is a house or store giving out candy. Give out play candy to your kids for practice.
Talk to your kids openly about their fears.
Ask your kids about what their Halloween fears are. Have them tell you what they don’t like and like about Halloween. Listen without judging them. If you bring them somewhere and they start verbalizing fear, don’t say things like, “Stop being scared.” Provide reassurance that they are in a safe place and safe with you. After the trick-or-treating event is over, have another discussion with them, asking them what they liked. You want to emphasize the good points they verbalized so they can start connecting with Halloween in positive ways.
Read Halloween books that help your kids deal with Halloween fears, such as:
- ‘Where’s My Mummy? ‘ by Carolyn Crimi and illustrated by John Manders
- Franklin’s Halloween by Paulette Bourgeois
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