What To Do if Your Kid is Petrified of Halloween

halloween-pumpkin-carving-face
Image via Pexels

My kids have disliked “creepy” Halloween decorations since I can remember. Truth be told, I don’t like them either.

I go through the same thing each year. First, I try to remember what Halloween looked like in the 1980’s. I remember the store bought “costumes” that were more like glorified trash bags with plastic masks that left no room to breathe. I remember wearing a clown costume for years (before clowns terrorized people for sport) because it was handmade and I didn’t grow enough to “need” a new costume. Most of all, I remember pumpkin carving being the big thing. We went to the farm, took the hayride to the pumpkin field, chose the biggest one we could possibly find, and designed it together as a family.

I truly don’t remember feeling like I wanted to look away because a house was so creepy. I was never afraid on or leading up to Halloween. Sure, there were witches, bats, and ghosts, but they all seemed to smile back at you. These days, it’s a whole different story.

When parents tell me their kids are scared of Halloween these days, I get it. Halloween seems a bit scarier and it definitely lasts longer.

The decorations go up on October 1st and they seem to get a little bit creepier each year. From makeshift graveyards to bodies hanging from trees to hooded skeletons, Halloween isn’t for the sensitive among us.

So what do you do if your kid is afraid of every single part of Halloween?

Walk around by day:

Tour the neighborhood by day to see the decorations up close. Sometimes seeing the creepy decorations while the sun is out helps kids gain mastery over the fear that those things might actually be real. When you get up close and touch the decorations and show your kids the truth about these supermarket skeletons, they realize that they don’t have to worry about them coming to life in the dark of night.

{ MORE: 4 Ways to Avoid Gender Stereotypes for Your Baby }

They might still choose to look away when you drive by and they might even ask you to take a different route, but at least they know what the decorations are really made of. Also? Find the cute houses. There are always a few houses with Mickey Mouse decorations or giant inflated pumpkins – focus on the fun spots to decrease the fear factor.

Skip the masks:

Many toddlers and preschoolers fear people dressed in masks. That’s perfectly age-appropriate. It’s okay to ask a friend to remove a mask for a moment to say hello and to skip costumes that involve covering the face.

Keep it simple:

Young children don’t need a long night filled with parties, trick-or-treating, and parades. Choose one. If a small party with kids the same age is an option, that’s a great choice for a fearful child. Many communities host parades for young children early in the evening, before it gets dark. If parties and parades are too much, check with your local library or even bookstores – sometimes a story hour in costume with a couple of pieces of candy is just enough Halloween fun for a little one.

ADVERTISEMENT

{ MORE: 6 Simple But Impressive Trunk-or-Treat Ideas }

Stick to your schedule:

Nothing throws kids off more than skipping naps, delaying bedtime, and surviving on poor nutrition for the day. Eat healthy meals (in between fistfuls of candy corns) and stick to your usual sleep routine. Long nights of trick-or-treating will come when your kids are ready. Until then, enjoy a lighter version of Halloween and watch those fears fade away.

{ MORE: How to Know if Your Kid Has Test Anxiety }

On a personal note, I’ve found that what my kids really enjoy about Halloween is giving out the candy to trick-or-treaters. We spend an hour or so at our community celebration, stop at a few houses on the walk home, and enjoy the evening by oohing and ahhing over the costumes that come to our door!

Have fun out there!

What do you think?

What To Do if Your Kid is Petrified of Halloween

Katie Hurley, LCSW is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and writer in Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of "No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls" and "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World". She earned her BA in Psychology and Women's Studies from Boston College and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She divides her time between her family, her private practice and her writing. Passionate about he ... More

Tell us what you think!

Advertisement
[x]
×

EverydayFamily.com Week-by-Week Newsletter

Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year! Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year!

Due Date or Baby's Birth Date


By clicking the "Join Now" button you are agreeing to the terms of use and privacy policy.

Send this to a friend