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Make Halloween Fun for Everyone

Treat your little one to a not-so-scary experience

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Almost everyone loves Halloween, but gory get-ups, fake eyeballs, and lawn zombies can be terrifying for first and second timers. Try these tips to reduce fears of ghouls and goblins and help your newbie enjoy the occasion.
Make Halloween Fun for Everyone

Some experts and parents believe that Halloween has become just a bit too scary for the littlest trick-or-treaters. Children can also find some of the more subtle aspects of Halloween confounding. For instance, it may be hard for some to reconcile the fact that on Halloween it is perfectly okay to trample other people’s lawns, horde candy, ring random doorbells, and talk to strangers, when the rest of the year it isn’t. So what can you do to minimize confusion, worry, and anxiety that Halloween can trigger in little ones? Try these tips

  1. Read books that feature charming themes, age-appropriate costumes, and kid-friendly illustrations to jump-start your conversation about Halloween and dressing up in costumes.

  2. Think DIY and abandon complicated get-ups—bunny ears, a baseball cap turned sideways, or even jammies are plain adorable and just as effective for the youngest set.

  3. Rewrite the rulebook—trick or treat during daylight hours. Ring a few doorbells, let your child show off his costume, fill his treat bag, go home, and enjoy supper.

  4. Host an at-home party where pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, pin the hat on a witch, and an indoor parade are the main activities. Avoid street congestion and sidewalk chaos.

  5. Expect that fatigue, hunger, and too much stimulation can change a game plan. Call it quits when you see those signals. There’s always next year.

  6. Be a listener and gently encourage your child to talk about aspects of Halloween he finds disturbing. Witches? Goblins? Something under the bed? Allow him to leave his bedroom door open at night, turn on white noise or soft, relaxing music at bedtime. Leave a flashlight by the bed. Demonstrate how to address worries in manageable steps—not all at once or by dismissing his concerns and telling him there’s nothing to be afraid of.

  7. Diffuse the horror.  Help your yougster understand the difference between make-believe and reality. Explain that the Ninja who is ringing the doorbell and asking for candy isn’t real, but the person inside the costume is a little boy—just like he is. Let your newbie watch older trick-or-treaters don their costumes, or invite him to peek underneath their masks to see the friendly and familiar faces.

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