How to Help a Child Survive Halloween If They Fear It
Halloween is not everyone’s favorite holiday. There are some people who are actually afraid of the holiday. The fear of Halloween is called Samhainophobia. But when it comes to children, being afraid of Halloween is actually a normal part of growing up. This is a great time to help children learn how to deal with their fears and how to enjoy Halloween even if they are afraid.
1. Do not force the issue
It’s never a good idea to push children into facing their fears. This can cause trauma that might be difficult to ease later. Most fears are based upon lack of knowledge or understanding. So, rather than forcing the issue of facing their fears, help children know and understand what the holiday is about.
Explain that the scary ghosts, goblins, and witches are not real. They are just for pretend. You’ll also need to explain why people are wearing costumes and what trick-or-treating is all about. Share the fun things about Halloween that you enjoyed when you were a kid.
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2. Talk about it
It is always a good idea to talk about the child’s fears with someone who can help them process what it is they are afraid of and why. Ask the child questions to try to get to the root of the fear.
For example, ask, “What is the scariest thing about Halloween to you?” Then, take their answer and continue to ask questions while reassuring them that their fears are normal, but they can overcome them with the advice that you give.
3. Have alternatives to trick-or-treating
Rather than going door-to-door and not knowing what you will come across on your trick-or-treat adventure, try an alternative. Try taking your child to businesses, hospitals, or other safe places that you know will be kid-friendly. Some churches and schools have “Trunk-or Treat” parties. You could also host a kid-friendly party of your own in your house. That way you are in control of what your child experiences.
4. Have non-scary costumes and masks
Masks are often what kids are afraid of most so avoid costumes that have masks whether they’re scary or not. Face paint might ease some of the fear because the child can see it is actually their face. Or avoid it all together.
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5. Research good picture books
There are some great picture books written to ease fears of Halloween. Do an online search or ask a librarian for ideas. Here are a few I recommend:
- ‘Where’s My Mummy? ‘ by Carolyn Crimi and illustrated by John Manders
- Happy Halloween Emily! by Claire Masurel
- Franklin’s Halloween by Paulette Bourgeois
As a trusted adult in your child’s life, you have a responsibility to help them learn to overcome fears of Halloween. Acknowledge your child’s fear as real and a normal part of childhood, and then do not push them to face any fears until they are ready. Give them time to understand and learn more about it, and in no time, they’ll forget what it was they were afraid of to begin with.