For some people, Halloween, and the ghostly characters and events that accompany it, can become a tense time of year. It can sometimes be easy to forget that, despite the fun-filled holiday, there are often real fears associated with Halloween.
Whether you’re a parent with an anxious child, or you find yourself unnerved, there’s some simple ideas to help get yourself through the holiday without any scares.
Whilst some children are thrilled with the prospect of putting on a mask and dressing up for the occasion, the idea can be stressful for others. In particular, if you have a child who doesn’t cope well with surprises or can display disruptive behaviour, the evening has the potential to get a little off-track.
If dressing-up is a necessity, try costumes which don’t cover the face or neck, as this can offer a little relief when your child needs to take a breather from the excitement. Try to make sure you have the costume ready in advance of the night – being able to try the costume on, and even play in it a little, may help to ease their worries and increase their excitement for the festivities.
Having a clear plan and relaying this openly with your child can be helpful, especially when trick-or-treating is concerned. Try to stick to as normal a routine as possible; whether Halloween falls on a night after-school, or at the weekend, try to make things as ‘normal’ as possible. Also, consider going out early – before the rush of other trick-or-treaters, and before it gets too dark outside.
If social boundaries are hard to process, and knocking on doors can be a trigger for your child, it may be best to only approach homes of friends or family who are well-known to the child.
But, if going out poses a real problem, why not have your own Halloween fun at home? Make a movie night of it with some popcorn, or even a party with a couple of your child’s friends. They can still take part in trick-or-treating, but do it in the comfort of your own home by being the one to hand out treats to your ghostly visitors.
When it’s time to call it a night, leave a friendly and polite notice in a clearly visible place, asking trick-or-treaters not to call as your children are now in bed.
Remember, the night is supposed to be fun. Avoiding Halloween altogether can be risky, as this can strengthen, rather than eradicate, your child’s fears. But, done in the right way, you can teach your child to cope with their anxieties and help them form some of the best spooky memories.
For more information on how to cope with fears, phobias and how hypnotherapy may be able to help you, have a look at some of our expert articles.