Halloween can be a very scary time for some children. This is a normal reaction, especially for young children. Young children have strong imaginations and they cannot tell the difference between real and pretend. Masks and costumes can be scary to young children, even if the costumes are on people they know. Going out in the dark and seeing scary decorations can make some children very anxious. There are a number of things parents can do to help their children with Halloween fears.
1. Don’t tease your children or minimize their fears. Let your children know that you understand their fear and that you are there to help them. “That costume is scary. It even frightened me! But now I know that it is just your friend dressing up.”
2. Encourage your children to talk about their fears. Show your children ways to help them to calm down. “Any time you feel frightened come and talk to me. We’ll figure out a way to deal with it”. At this time of year, children may need a night light on in their room or extra cuddles before they fall asleep.
3. Read Halloween stories that are not scary to help them see the fun things that happen at Halloween. Books such as Its Not a Pumpkin, Eek! Halloween!, and Peppa’s Halloween Party, present Halloween as a fun time.
4. Look at alternative activities to trick or treating. If your children are too scared to go out on Halloween, let them dress up in a costume of their choice and stay home to help pass out the candy treats. Host a family fun Halloween party at home or host a fall party with pumpkins and apples as a theme.
5. Be patient with your children. Helping them to deal with their fears may take time.