Plenty of kids look forward to Halloween as a time to dress up, stay out late with friends, and create a stockpile of candy. But that’s not the case for every child. If your kiddo experiences anxiety, struggles to follow directions, or doesn’t like surprises, this holiday can be more of a trick than a treat to handle. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help your child feel happy, safe, and comfortable this Halloween.
Not all children enjoy dressing up. Sometimes unfamiliar clothing causes more stress than fun, and wearing a mask or makeup can be frightening or irritating for some kiddos. If your child wants to wear a costume, help them to pick out something they feel comfortable in—and if they don’t want to dress up, that’s okay too!
It isn’t always easy for young children to distinguish between what’s real and what isn’t. Ghoulish masks, grinning skeletons, oversized spiders, makeup gore, and scary sound effects may not feel like fun and games to your child. Try to prepare your kiddo in advance by reminding them that none of the scary things they might see are real, or just avoid most of the thrills and chills altogether.
Trick-or-Treating and Parties
If you think the excitement of Halloween may overstimulate your child, it’s a good idea to go over expectations beforehand. Let your child know what they can expect from the evening and what rules they need to adhere to. You may want to celebrate early in the evening and then come home to the usual bedtime routine so you can end the night on a familiar note.
Remember, not everyone’s Halloween has to look the same, so if your child prefers to stay home and make goody bags for their friends rather than dressing up and trick-or-treating, that’s perfectly fine. Halloween can be fun for your child when they know what to expect and when they have a say in how they will celebrate.