Children are usually very excited about Halloween, The chance to dress-up in a million imaginative costumes, have sweet treats, and get just a little scared is often fun for kids. But, some kids don’t find this holiday fun at all. They find it frightening. They feel nervous and afraid to participate in Halloween activities, even at school or home. As a parent, it can be frustrating to try to make the holiday special for a child who is feeling this way. Here are some tips to make this holiday fun and to introduce it in a manner that feels safe to your child.
Choose Activities with Care
You do not have to participate in every Halloween tradition. It is perfectly okay to sit out of activities that you know will be hard for your child. Oftentimes, this means skipping parties or festivities where you know that there may be too many scary components. Though that clown may not scare you at all, your child may find him absolutely terrifying. Try to respect your child’s needs and choose parties or events that are meant for young children. If you must participate in an event that you know will have many frightening triggers, try to arrange a sitter for your child so they are not traumatized by the event. If they are scared at an event you are already at, it may be a great time to make your excuses and leave.
Skip Traditional Trick or Treat
There is no rule that you must trick or treat with your child on Halloween night. Walking around dim or dark streets with people in various costumes can be very scary. Instead, look for local activities that are less overwhelming. Local zoos, churches, and schools often host activities that are more laid back than a night spent trick or treating. As a bonus, there are often some non-candy related activities available at these events. They tend to be well-lit, and the people are usually very friendly. You may find you have a better time there than you would have trick or treating!
What if you really want to trick or treat with your child? Go early. In most towns, it is perfectly acceptable for young children to start trick or treating right after an early dinner, while it is still light. Plan a short adventure out to a neighborhood you know well. Then end the night with a special surprise just for your child (like dessert out at a local restaurant).
Build up to the Holiday
Be sure that you talk about the fact that Halloween is approaching. Take your child to pick out a costume or buy treats for her class. Find some fun decorations in the store that are not scary and let your child pick their favorite. Carve pumpkins with funny faces instead of the traditional scary Jack O’ Lantern.
Start your own Traditions
You can use this opportunity to start some of your own fun, non-scary, traditions with your family. It could be anything from going to a pumpkin patch or petting zoo to making special Halloween treats. Get them involved and make it a great memory. Add fun notes to your child’s lunchbox at school. They will love it and their friends will think it’s awesome, too! You can create joy in this holiday, even when your child is a bit scared of some of its traditions. Making your own memories will take a lot of the scare out of this night…and you’ll have fun, too!