There are so many fun fall traditions that we all look forward to each year: picking apples, pumpkin-spiced everything, and of course, Halloween: carving pumpkins, dressing up, and trick-or-treating. But not every child reacts the same way to the spooky fall holiday.
Tone down the scare factor
While many kids enjoy the scariness of Halloween, other little ones are more sensitive and are genuinely terrified. Don’t add to their stress by forcing them to face the monsters, ghouls, and zombies that are everywhere. Many schools will enforce a “no-scary-costumes”, even no costumes at all, as the idea of “pretending” may still not be developed in a very young child, and even the most benign costumes can be overwhelming. Follow your child’s lead and don’t force them to dress up until they are ready.
Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips
Costumes: Avoid masks–masks can obstruct vision, making it hard for your child to see. Face paint, hats, wigs, and makeup is great ways to disguise faces without covering the eyes, nose or mouth. Likewise, costume pieces should allow for freedom of movement, and should not be restricting. Wear white or bright clothing or glow-in-the-dark strips or carry flashlights if trick-or-treating after dark.
Travel safety: Walk in groups. If your child is older, make sure they are traveling with friends. Plan out the trick-or-treating route: stay on streets that are well-lit and well-traveled. Some neighborhoods organize their blocks, coordinating their treat-handouts and hanging outside on porches to watch the festivities and greet the kids personally. A large high-rise might have their own trick-or-treating event in the building. Some families prefer to celebrate with a Halloween party rather than trick-or-treating out on the street. That is a safe option as well.
Candy: While the fears of poisoned candy or tainted apples have generally faded, it is still a good idea to inspect all candy before letting your child eat it. And if possible, ration as much as you can: they just got about 6 months’ worth of sugar in one night! Encourage them to share as much as they can part with so that they don’t feel the need to glut. If you are passing out treats at your own house, consider handing out small toys like Halloween-themed pencils, erasers, or stickers instead of candy. It’s just as festive, and will remind them of their fun Halloween adventure much longer than that bag of M&Ms!