Halloween can be a bit of a dichotomy, when you have young children. They are old enough to understand the concept of dressing up to be someone or something else, and the understand that when they do this on Halloween and go to other people’s homes, they get free candy. Excitement! What they likely won’t understand is what scary characters and scenes have to do with it. Why the scary, decomposing dead people, Mom? Good question, kid.
When your children are very small, trying to explain why we decorate ourselves and our homes in blood, zombies, and the skeletons may be too much for them to understand. but what you can do is work to make their Halloween less scary.
Simple Tips to Make Halloween Less Scary
First of all, you don’t even need to use scary decorations when you’re decorating for Halloween. Smiling pumpkins, friendly witches, and scarecrows are all great alternatives to vampires and ghouls. In fact, you could even get one of those fun inflatables to station outside your front door! This has the bonus of showing other kids in the neighbourhood who may be fearful that your home is a safe one to approach.
Talk to them. If they see scary props in a store, explain how they work to help demystify them. Also make sure you check in with them about costumes that they’re afraid of. Last year, my daughter dressed up as a witch and thought they were fun. This year, she screams every time she sees one on TV, even when it’s a friendly witch on Dora the Explorer! Don’t assume they are afraid of the same things, or that they haven’t developed new fears. And really, you can avoid the stores altogether if you’re afraid your little one is going to react badly to the “scary aisle,” thanks to online shopping now.
Speaking of checking in, why not do a walking tour of your neighbourhood with your child, in the week leading up to Halloween? Walk around before the sun goes down, so they can see that most of the decorations don’t look nearly as scary in the light of day. Point out houses that might frighten your child and gauge their reaction, to determine if you should be avoiding those houses when it comes time for trick or treating. You can always steer clear of those houses, especially now that you have an idea of where they are!
For the night of, make sure to take your children out on the early side, to avoid them having to see older kids dressed in scary costumes. There’s nothing like turning a corner and running head first into a terrifying clown face with fangs that’s dripping in blood. And if it all seems like too much, you could always throw a Halloween party for the little ones, and avoid going out completely. Give out treats at the party just like they’d get by going trick or treating, and have them participate in some fun Halloween crafts!
Finally, as someone who is giving away treats to other kids at your home, why not make sure that the treats are less scary, and every kid can eat the ones you give out? Make sure to buy candies that have been produced in a peanut-free facility. Look for the peanut free symbol on the box or bag to ensure you’ve picked up a safe product.
Have a happy Halloween, no matter what it ends up looking like!