6 Tips To Help Your Little One If They Are Afraid Of Halloween

Halloween for most children is one of the most fun times of the year. But, for some children, it is a scary and unsettling time. 

Halloween for most children is one of the most fun times of the year. But, for some children, it is a scary and unsettling time. There might be children with special needs or sensory issues and it’s important to be mindful of that, especially when the trick or treat callers begin on Halloween night.

What is scary about Halloween?
Sensitive Children can be traumatised. It doesn’t matter that you try to reason that it’s ‘just pretend’. Scary images are scary. When a child is fearful, the fight or flight reaction in the brain is activated and the child CAN’T reason until he has been calmed.
All the ‘stranger danger’ education you’ve worked at so hard through the year goes flying out the window. For one dark night, it’s okay to be accepting things from complete strangers. (And of course, there’s also the sugar overload!)
It is a lot of new noises. And they’re out in the dark. For the first time, probably since last Halloween, your little ones are out in the dark. Things are very different in the dark and noises can seem louder and scary to a child in the dark.
There is a lot of noise especially on Halloween night that your child won’t be used to. It's important to be mindful of that when bringing your child our or children knock at your door on Halloween night.

Tips to Take the Fear out of Halloween:
1. Brush up on Facts 
Before you teach kids about Halloween, you need to know some information yourself. Read about how Halloween began as a Celtic holiday (called Samhain) where ghosts would come back to earth (spooky!) and how it evolved into All Hallows' Eve. Knowing its origin and how it began may take a little of the fear factor out of it for your little one!

2. Keep your child emotionally safe as well as physically safe
If it’s real to them it’s real. They need an empathetic response. Very often we jump in with our opinions and solutions, rather than stopping and listening to our child’s experience. 
3. Create enjoyable family traditions 
Have fun as a family playing traditional games – bobbing for apples, finding the coin in the curly kale. Telling slightly scary stories (make sure they have happy endings). Use this opportunity make some family traditions of your own.

4. Encourage creativity
Let your little one get involved in the costume making. Collect suitable recyclables, have paper bags, staplers, tape, glue, pairs of scissors, paints, black and orange paper or card on hand. Be there to help but let the children develop their ideas.  When children are involved in the creation of their costumes they are more likely to be able to enjoy the fun. 

5. Create a non–scary alternative
If you have friends of little ones that don’t enjoy Halloween or that are maybe too little to go trick or treating, make plans with them and create celebrations that let your children enjoy the fun without the fear. Host a “gentle” Halloween party with children coming in “silly” fancy dress instead of “scary”.

6. Take a stand
If you think your school is overdoing the scary stuff and it’s upsetting your child, you need to take a stand. It’s very likely your child isn’t the only one who’s unhappy about this. 
If public places, particularly shops, have upsetting displays, let the manager know you don’t intend to return until the ‘decorations’ are dismantled. Retailers will soon change their approach if they realise they are losing trade by having gruesome Halloween displays.

Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired inthe chaos of it all. Writer and blogger at www.lovelifeandlittleones.com.

Laura Doyle

Mum of four, Gentle parent living on coffee and trying always to stay positive and motivate in the midst of the madness.

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