Halloween may have its tame and carefree moments, but it can also be very scary, especially for young kids. Here are a few tips to desensitize your child to the spooky ghouls and goblins of Halloween.
Scary Decorations: You won’t run into many frightening things at a children’s Halloween party, but it can be extremely difficult to avoid all of the deathly imagery that appears on TV, at the mall, and on people’s lawns. While you may want to avoid places that may scare your child, experts say it’s not necessary. While it’s not a good idea to take your child to a haunted house that can truly disturb them, it can be very helpful to familiarize them with scary things. Take small steps by taking your child into a Halloween store or to a website online with people in costumes. Even coloring pictures of a spooky Frankenstein can put a fun spin on the “scary”.
Let It Go: Your child may act overly excited about their Halloween costume, but don’t be surprised if they refuse to wear it on the big day. Pre-school-aged children are very changeable and may be extremely excited about something one day then completely uninterested the next. If your child shies away from wearing a costume at an event, such as a class party, try compromising with them. Tell them they can take the costume to school and put it on there for the party, or they can just wear part of the costume if they’d rather. If your child still refuses, let it go! It’s not the end of the world, so save your energy for a struggle that’s more worthwhile.
Appearance vs. Reality: Children aged 2 to 4 years are very likely to be unnerved by Halloween masks or makeup, including a siblings or even their own. A good way to diffuse a panicked episode is to let your child be a part of the transformation. Have them help make their siblings costume or even help put their Halloween makeup on. This will help them absorb that the scary witch they see is actually just their silly older sister or even their own goofy self.
Short Expectations: Your child may love it when they get those first few pieces of candy, but after a handful of houses, your little trick-or-treater may be over it. If they are ready to go home after just a few houses, it’s okay. They were still able to have the trick-or-treating experience.