Halloween can be a scary time of year especially for young children. While adults know that the decorations and costumes aren’t for real, young children don’t understand that concept. Here are some tips which should help you to enjoy the holiday with your young ones and avoid any meltdowns.
This year my son is 1 1/2. Some of the creepy decorations at the store freak him out! I avoid the aisles that freak him out quite frankly. There will be next year and it’s not worth traumatizing him.
This year, we decorated our home with a harvest theme. We have scarecrows and pumpkins and flowers. Not only is it NOT scary, but the holiday display is virtually indestructible. Indestructible is important when you have kids.
I was reminded of this when my older daughter put on a mask in the store. My son had no idea that she was beneath the mask and just screamed! The mask happened to be of a certain presidential candidate, which made everyone laugh! My daughter took off the mask and he stopped screaming.
Make Scary Not So Scary
Friends of ours create a haunted house every year and donate the proceeds to a charity. The house is quite spooky, even for me! Every year on Halloween, we take the children early before the official trick or treating begins. Our neighbors take off their masks and walk the kids through the house. They get to meet Frankenstein who is also another neighbor, and his wife who one year was the school lunch lady. They also turn off the spooky music and we visit for a while.
This is a great way to handle this sort of thing. After several years of the non-spooky visits, my children are no longer afraid.
Make It Short and Sweet
For very young children, trick or treating can be overwhelming. It’s dark, they have on a costume, and they are interacting with people they really don’t know. Instead of making a several hour event, plan on visiting your neighbors on your block instead. Your child will be familiar with his surroundings, and he’ll be meeting people he already knows. When you sense that your child is getting tired or stressed, call it quits for the night.
Have Someone Else Hand Out Candy
I see many people who have their children with them to hand out candy. Depending upon the age and personality of your child, that’s a great idea. For some children, it’s not so good. In our house, either my husband or I hands out candy while the other one stays with our toddler. If someone comes to the door that we know, we’ll get our son to come and visit. Otherwise, he really doesn’t interact with the visitors.
Parenting is a unique experience and all children are not the same. Perhaps your child doesn’t even blink when exposed to “scary”. Perhaps your child is terrified of the costumed figures at the amusement parks. The important thing is to monitor the situation so as to not create a stressful situation for your young child.