Halloween may be a fun celebration for some, but it can also be scary for others—especially young children.
Plan your trick-or-treat route.
Tackling the entire neighborhood can be daunting for a child who may encounter spooky sights. Start out small and go to houses where you know the people. If you go earlier in the evening, too, you may not encounter as many older kids wearing scary costumes. You can even visit your community center, if they are offering fun activities if going door to door becomes overwhelming.
Prepare a script for teens.
Young kids are not the only ones that may get scared. Teens can sometimes feel nervous about going to haunted houses or corn mazes—especially if their friends might peer pressure them into going. Daniels suggests that parents should help their children rehearse a script to help them turn down their friends without outwardly saying they are too scared, if they feel that their friends might tease them. Some lines to use include, “I don’t feel like it, maybe next year,” or “I have other plans for the night.”
Enlist their help.
If you can get kids to realize that Halloween involves fun activities that the whole family can take part in, they’ll feel more at ease about it. You can all carve pumpkins, bake cookies or make other Halloween treats, and decorate the house with items your child picked out. You can even forego trick-or-treating and just spend the evening roasting marshmallows or reading books as a family. “If it’s frightening for them, don’t force it,” Daniels says.
Don’t pressure them.
Simply put: if they are not ready to celebrate Halloween, they’re not ready. Saying things like “You’re being a baby,” or “Go anyway, you’ll have fun,” may not be the best solution because the last thing kids want to do is feel like they’ve let down their parents. “Don’t give up if you’re disappointed in your child when you offer [to go trick-or-treating] and they are not ready,” Daniels says. “There’s always next year.”