Halloween is right around the corner. For many kids, Halloween is one of the best nights of the year. It means staying up late, wearing fun (or scary) costumes, and eating way too much candy. For other kids, however, Halloween is scary and overwhelming. It is full of scary things and a lot of unknown experiences. Check out the following tips to help ease childhood fears regarding Halloween:
1. Involve your kids in the Halloween festivities. Let your child help you with the pumpkin carving, costume selecting, and candy buying. Talk to your child about what to expect on Halloween. Discuss what a costume is, and explain that there is a person under that scary mask they might see. The more exposure your child has to the “surroundings” of Halloween, the better the experience will go on Halloween night.
2. Stay with your child during the “Trick or Treat” outing. Halloween is a night full of pranks and unexpected surprises. Many adults come to doors wearing scary masks to hand out candy. Some homes play scary music and have monsters and ghosts on their porches. Sometimes children are greeted by big, barking dogs when they ring the doorbell. Walk with your child up to the door at each house. Stay with them. Comfort them when they are scared. Hold them and make them feel safe. Reassure them that you will be with them throughout the whole night.
3. Do not push your child to do things he or she isn’t ready for. If your child doesn’t want to walk up to a scary house, do not force him or her to do that. Perhaps your child wants to go home after 3 houses. That is okay. Halloween is completely out of the ordinary for your child, and this throws many children for a loop. Enjoy the time with your child, and know that it is okay if your child acts scared and sensitive on Halloween. Sympathize with them. It can certainly be overwhelming for kids to experience so many new sights and sounds at once.
4. Make Halloween more fun with flashlights and glow sticks. When your child has something new to play with, the night can seem less intimidating. Flashlights also ease some of the fears your child may have about being in the dark. Having a source of light while walking around from house to house is also a great safety precaution to take. Another option would be to begin trick or treating at the earliest time possible. Most neighborhoods begin their trick or treating while there is some light left outside.
5. Have fun with your child. Each of our children is unique and special. Maybe you want your child to be the life of the party on Halloween, and you are disappointed when he or she acts scared and wants to go home. Love your child and embrace him or her for who he or she is. Enjoy the extra cuddles. In a few years, your child will want to trick or treat with friends. Then, you’ll probably look back on that one Halloween that your child clung to you with a grip of fear and only approached one door to trick or treat, and you’ll smile at the memory.
We hope that everyone has a wonderful and safe Halloween this year. If you feel that your child’s Halloween fears are extreme or seem to go on year after year, then please give us a call at 912-319-5552. At Water’s Edge Counseling, we have therapists who specialize in childhood fears and anxieties. We would love to help you decide if therapy is something that your child would benefit from.