Mary Clare Munger, early childhood expert from Amarillo College, says Halloween can be a little too scary for some kids.
Children under 3 really believe that what they see and hear is real. They do not separate reality and fantasy well. Be careful about exposing them to frightening costumes, movies or haunted houses.
Preschool children are beginning to understand that people can try on costumes but anything very frightening can lead to night mares and other fearful responses.
Elementary children can distinguish between real and make believe but are still at risk for lasting fears if they are exposed to terrifying visuals like some of our movies and videos.
Tips for a Happy Halloween:
1. Understand the child and admit that everyone gets scared sometimes
2. Be brave. Make sure the young children see adults showing confidence about the situation. Young children look and listen to the parents responses.
3. Keep things as simple as possible. Use easy and comfortable costumes. Take the children to visit at the homes of family and close friends. Avoid loud and crowded parties where you cannot control the scary behaviors your child might be confronted by.
4. Prepare the child for what the new experience will be. Coach them through part one, part two and the end of the event. Trick or Treat can be much more fun if 1) the children can know what to expect 2) the children can be comfortable and safe 3) the event can be over in a short amount of time.