What to Do When Your Child is Scared of Halloween
Blood, guts and brains. No wonder some kids are scared of Halloween!
Some of my favorite childhood memories come from Halloween. I love it all! Pumpkins, costumes and the thrill of trick-or-treating. I was so excited to have children – mainly for the excuse to go trick-or-treating again!
Apparently it is frowned upon to go trick-or-treating without a kid in tow, whatever!
But the universe thought it would be hilarious to give me a child who was deathly afraid of my favorite holiday.
With a kid scared of Halloween – Halloween became more about pumpkin lattes and limited-time only pumpkin cookies at the local bakery.
Halloween decorations freaked my child out and trick-or-treating was out of the question.
This shouldn’t have come as a shock to me, after all as a child therapist I see kids every October because they are scared of Halloween. But not MY kids!
With determination to salvage the best holiday ever for parents everywhere – I offer these 5 ways to help kids who are scared of Halloween:
Don’t minimize your child’s fears.
It is helpful to let your kids know that you understand their fears. Halloween can be a scary holiday. Kids are just making sense of their world. We might think decapitated monsters and bloody eye balls are festive – but to some kids it is pure terror.
Young kids have a harder time differentiating between reality and fantasy – making Halloween a real life horror movie. Add masks and costumes to the mix and you’ve got a holiday full of nightmares – literally.
Start preparing your child for Halloween early.
It is impossible to keep your kids in a bubble for the entire month of October. Instead of avoiding Halloween, help prepare your kids for the holiday.
Tell your kids that during Halloween people find it fun to dress up like scary things. Let them know that the monsters and scary creatures they will see are not real. If you see scary decorations in the shops – demystify them by letting your kids hold them and see how fake they feel.
Save the bloody zombies for another year.
I love decorating for Halloween. I have two huge cabinets full of Halloween decorations! So there is no way I would tell anyone to not decorate for Halloween! However, to help your kids get acclimated to Halloween – keep your decorations festive and spook-free. Pumpkins, friendly witches and cute ghosts are all kid-friendly decorations.
Don’t get too attached to those cute little costumes.
The stores are packed with aisle after aisle of the cutest costumes. Your little one might plead with you to buy that $40 Frozen costume – only to refuse to wear it on Halloween. Kids are moody. What is exciting one week – is boring the next.
There is nothing more frustrating than spending lots of money on a costume your child refuses to wear. To spare the frustration – keep your expectations for Halloween low. Be flexible with costumes – and have a back up from the dress up bin.
Make plans that are fun for your child – not necessarily you.
If your child has shown fear throughout the month of October – you might want to skip trick-or-treating this year and do a community event instead. Many communities and shopping centers do Halloween trick-or-treating events. These events are usually family friendly and your child is less likely to be frightened.
If you do brave the neighborhood, try and go with an extra adult or an older child. It is helpful if the older child approaches the door first. This helps weed out the neighbors with spirited teens hiding in the wings. Our neighborhood is full of people who love to scare the trick-or-treaters. My older child loves it – but my littlest one finds it traumatizing.
Halloween is a fun, exciting holiday. Once your kids moves through their fears – they will see this holiday for what it really is – free candy. And who can be scared of that!
Do you have a child that is scared of Halloween? How do you help them. Help other parents by adding your suggestions in the comments below.
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