Halloween can be an exciting time for children, filled with eerie costumes, delicious candy, and spooky decorations. But for children who are scared easily, the October holiday can be more overwhelming than enjoyable. As a parent, it’s important to find ways to make Halloween a fun and enjoyable experience for your scared child.
For many children and adults, dressing up and pretending to be a favorite character, creature or superhero is exciting. But for the scared child, Halloween can be confusing surrounded by unfamiliar people in costumes. Understanding your scared child’s fears and implementing a few tips and tricks, can help your child enjoy Halloween festivities. Acknowledge and validate your children’s fears. Listen to their concerns and assure them that it is okay to feel scared. By showing understanding and empathy, you can create a safe space for your children to express their anxieties. This will help build trust and make them feel more comfortable during the Halloween season.
Why is Your Child Scared of Halloween?
Halloween can be intimidating to younger children who may not fully grasp the concept of costumes and trick-or-treating. The sudden transformation of their surroundings and the sight of masked strangers can trigger fear and uncertainty. Sometimes, the exaggerated and gory costumes prevalent during Halloween can be stressful. The sight of witches, ghosts, monsters, and other spooky creatures can be overwhelming, causing children to feel frightened or anxious. It is important to explain that these costumes are just make-believe and not real threats.
Media exposure to horror movies, haunted houses, and scary stories can make your child scared of Halloween. Media exposure in online videos, commercials, and video games can be frightening leaving a lasting impression on young minds, which makes them more susceptible to feeling scared.
No matter why your scared child feels afraid, you should engage in open honest conversations about their fears. Listen attentively to concerns and validate emotions. Reassure your scared child that you will be there to support and protect them throughout the Halloween festivities. Remember, each child is unique, and it’s essential to approach fears with empathy and understanding. Just because one of your children may love “being scared” another may not. But by implementing creative tricks, you can help your scared child gradually overcome Halloween anxieties and create lasting positive memories of this spooky season.
Read Halloween Books to Your Scared Child
To help your scared child overcome fears and enjoy Halloween, you can introduce Halloween-themed books that portray the holiday in a lighthearted and age-appropriate manner. Books can demystify the holiday and make it less intimidating for your scared child. You can’t expect your scared child to walk out of the house and just be okay with monsters and aliens walking the streets.
Reading Halloween books can prepare children so they are not as nervous. Educating your scared child on each aspect of Halloween will make her more aware and comfortable. Here are a few must-have books that touch on different Halloween subjects! As your child becomes more comfortable with Halloween, you can gradually move on to slightly scarier content. This progressive exposure can help desensitize your child to their fears over time.
It’s Pumpkin Day Mouse
“It’s Pumpkin Day, Mouse” takes a classic book and gives a bit of a Halloween story to it. The book shows children different emotions and expressions they may see during that time of year – perfect for any scared child on Halloween!
“Eek! Halloween” is a Sandra Boynton classic. The chickens are nervous about Halloween (much like your scared child). The chickens have no idea what’s going on. This story walks you through what may seem scary on Halloween and gives a silly spin to it all.
“Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody” is a hilarious parody on the classic story Goodnight Moon. If your kids are familiar with the story, then this is the perfect book to add to your collection! Reading it alongside the classic story can help give your scared child a sense of familiarity, which will come in handy on Halloween.
Play Dress Up with Your Scared Child Before Halloween
Your scared child may be extremely nervous about wearing a costume. Or, your scared child may not like seeing others dressed in something other than everyday clothes. Playing dress-up year-round can help prepare your scared child for Halloween costumes!
You can host a small gathering with close friends and family members before Halloween. This can provide a familiar and safe environment for your child to get accustomed to costumes and the festive atmosphere. Gradually exposing them to Halloween-related activities in a controlled setting can help build confidence.
Buy a few different costumes for your kids to dress up, and while you’re at it, join in on the fun and buy a few for yourself! Have fun and take turns pretending to be what you’re dressed up as. Making up stories to reenact will give your child a sense of understanding of each character and they will be thrilled to become that character on Halloween!
Playing pretend is important for preparing your scared child for Halloween, but also great for developing her imagination! According to Scholastic, “When your child engages in pretend (or dramatic) play, he is actively experimenting with the social and emotional roles of life. Through cooperative play, he learns how to take turns, share responsibility, and creatively problem-solve.”
Invite friends and extended family members to enjoy a dress-up day! Silly costumes, scary costumes, superhero costumes, animal costumes, and more. The more dressed-up people your scared child is surrounded by the better they will be prepared for Halloween!
Encourage your scared child to be involved in the preparation process. Whether decorating the house, carving pumpkins, or picking out a costume, having a sense of ownership and control can empower your child and alleviate anxiety, too.
Play Spooky Games with Your Scared Child
Playing spooky games will give your scared child a positive vibe to his nervous feelings. Introduce these games slowly and make sure not to push your kid into them. Playing peek-a-boo is a great starter for any age! Showing your kids that they are okay when you “disappear” and giving them a little fright when you “appear” can be fun!
Lastly, consider planning a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt or game that focuses on fun rather than fear. This can help redirect your child’s attention towards enjoyable activities and divert their focus from the scary aspects of the holiday.
Another fun spooky game is the Monster Mash Dance! Have your kids dress up in their favorite costume and turn on the Halloween classic song “Monster Mash”. Watch your scared child open up with fun and spooky dance moves, and encourage them to get into character to make it even more fun!
Read More: Spooky Snacks and Halloween Movies for Kids
Hide and Seek is another perfect Halloween game to prepare your scared child for the holiday. Dress up in your costumes and spread out. Having your kids look for the hidden monster may make them feel nervous at first, but the more you have fun with it the more comfortable your kids will be.
Create Spooky Treats
We all know Halloween is less about the tricks and more about the treats. Get creative with it and hop in the kitchen with your kids to make some special spooky treats! Spider-shaped cookies, orange brownies, and Oreo bat bites can all make your scared child laugh at how silly the treats look. The more your kids see how fun Halloween can be, the more they will be excited about the holiday!
Take those decorations out often!
Having your scared child get hands-on with costumes and decorations can make them feel more and more familiar with each part of Halloween. You may not be able to find a pumpkin to carve in April, but there are tons of decorations you can keep on hand to play with. Plastic skeletons, fake spider webs, and glow-in-the-dark items you can play with year-round. You can even make a Halloween-inspired sensory box for your kids that includes spooky candy eyeballs and spider rings. So when those Halloween decorations go on sale in November, make sure to stock up on goodies for the whole year!
Practice Round of Neighborhood Trick or Treating
It’s a shame that we only pass out candy once a year. So why not get your neighbors on board with helping your scared child become familiar with Halloween? Chances are, your child is not alone in feeling a bit overwhelmed on Halloween. Talk to your neighbors about having a costume-free practice round of trick or treating.
Read More: 31 Must-Have Halloween Decorations
Experiencing trick or treating in a normal setting will give your kid a chance to truly understand the concept before throwing in the costumes. Plus, they will be even more thrilled about the candy!
On the actual Halloween night, it’s important to establish a routine that works for your child. If trick-or-treating is still too overwhelming, consider alternative activities such as attending a community Halloween event or organizing a candy scavenger hunt in your backyard. Remember, the goal is to make your child feel safe and enjoy the holiday.
Another idea is to consider hosting a Halloween-themed party at your home. By creating a familiar and controlled environment, you can help ease your child’s fears. Decorate the house with child-friendly decorations and play upbeat music to create a festive atmosphere. Encourage your child to invite friends over, as having familiar faces can provide a sense of comfort and security.
Halloween I Spy Game
Being prepared for your scared child to get nervous on Halloween night is extremely important. Print out a number of things that your kids may see while out on Halloween night and make it into an I Spy game! If your scared child starts to get nervous about trick-or-treating, take out the game and begin to describe and check off the things they see. Having them focus on one thing at a time will help them feel less overwhelmed and give them a focus point. Include a prize if they check off their entire list and they’ll want to make a tradition of this game every year!
Remember, practice makes perfect! Your scared child isn’t going to magically be okay with monsters and aliens running around. Practicing these scenarios year-round will ensure that they are 100 percent prepared for the holiday and that you can relax a little more this year. Don’t forget to praise and reward your child’s bravery throughout the Halloween season. Celebrate achievements, no matter how small, and let your scared child know how proud you are of her courage. This positive reinforcement will boost self-confidence and motivate them to face their fears head-on.
Preparing a scared child for Halloween requires patience, understanding, and thoughtful planning. By acknowledging fears, involving the child in the decision-making process, gradually exposing them to Halloween-related elements, and establishing a routine that suits her comfort level, you can create a fun and enjoyable Halloween experience for your child. Remember, it’s not about pushing them out of their comfort zone but rather creating a safe space where your scared child can overcome fears at her own pace.
WANT TO READ MORE?
When preparing to talk to your kids about Halloween, make sure you have all the facts! Check out Daily Mom’s post, “How did Halloween Start,” for all the information you’ll need!
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