"Preschool children and those in early elementary school often have a difficult time with Halloween," Theresa Kruczek, a counseling psychology professor at Ball State University. "Children this age often struggle with separating fantasy from reality and a result they may get confused and think the scary elements of Halloween are real.".
Here are some of our best collected tips to help children a little put off by all the Halloween hoopla:
1. Know your Child's Limits
"Just because you love haunted houses doesn't mean your 4-year-old will," Kruczek says. "Parents are in the best position to know what frightens their child and to help them cope with Halloween. If kids freak out during a scary movie, they'll freak out at a haunted house or when someone in a scary outfit comes by."
2. Pull out a Hat (or in this case, a can) Trick!
Kruczek suggest a simple household item may help any anxiety a child may have after seeing a scary Halloween decoration or costume. Its perfect for bedtime jitters. "After a frightening experience, children may have nightmares. They really can't tell us too much about the dream, but we can take some precautions to ward off those dreams by using a can of air freshener, otherwise known as anti-monster spray, to keep monsters at bay. Monsters don't like nice-smelling stuff." Watch a video on the advantages of Anti-Monster Spray
3. Demystify Decorations
Point them out and tell your child they are pretend and are meant to be fun. In fact, onnie Zucker, Psy.D., a psychologist in Rockville, Maryland, and author of Anxiety-Free Kids suggests parent try to help familiarize him with the scary stuff. "Take mini steps. Go to a Halloween store. Find pictures of people in costumes online, or go to a local farm stand that has some decorations up," suggests Dr. Zucker.
4. Take Various Precautions
To make Halloween more fun than it is scary. Kruczek suggests the following:
-*- Limit preschoolers to 30 minutes or less of activities, including trick-or-treating, and only during daylight hours.
-*- Ask friends and strangers to take off masks to show children that there really is a person under the costume.
-*- Parents and siblings should never wear masks around youngsters afraid of such items.
-*- In families with children of varying age ranges, allow each youngster to participate in age-appropriate activities.
-*- Avoid haunted houses unless the facility offers age-appropriate activities.