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Happy “Fear-Less” Halloween!

Why do we love Halloween SO much? Halloween grants us permission to throw our inhibitions out the window. We can be anything we want to be, disguise ourselves as unrecognizable, and be mischievous in a way that might surprise those who know us well.

I know this because my neighbors were one of the most gentle, sweet, and kind families in the village. Absolute pillars of the community! But when Halloween came around, WATCH OUT!!!  Gone was the friendly, pretty, white-haired lady who waved to me each morning as I boarded the school bus! Gone was the gentleman who whistled while mowing his perfectly maintained lawn! Gone was the warmly lit home where I could see the family gathered around the dinner table each evening! 
Their mission? To be the home trick-or-treaters would never forget!!! Mission accomplished! They practiced! They memorized scripts, embodied the essence of ghouls, witches, vampires, and zombies. The whole house turned into a ghastly dwelling! Creatures jumped out of bushes, crept up behind you, and dared you to say, “trick or treat”! If trick-or-treaters managed to muster up the bravery to escape with a piece of Bubble Yum, it was well deserved!

That home was the talk of the town for weeks after Halloween! Many of my friends looked forward to visiting the home on Halloween and many did not! Halloween is a paradox that is intended to be both scary and fun. Parents often struggle to define the best way to celebrate the much loved holiday with their little ones. Two major considerations are fear and safety. 

Childhood Fear Management Resources:
*Accept that as children grow they have different worries and fears.
*Acknowledge anxiety and depression in children.
*Address normal childhood fears
*Consider a cognitive behavioral therapist’s Halloween fear advice. 
*Learn why many childhood fears are a normal part of development.
*Make a difference in how well your child handles common worries. 
*Read what kids are scared of and why. 
*Realize that fear is a typical part of a child’s development.
*Recognize ages and stages of childhood fears.
*Understand how to help children manage fears.

What Parents Can Do:
Here are some suggestions that many parents find useful for their children with fears and phobias.
*Talk with your child about his anxieties, and be sympathetic. Explain to him that many children have fears, but with your support, he can learn to put them behind him.
*Do not belittle or ridicule your child’s fears, particularly in front of his peers.
*Do not try to coerce your youngster into being brave. It will take time for him to confront and gradually overcome his anxieties. You can, however, encourage (but not force) him to progressively come face-to-face with whatever he fears.

Halloween Celebration Safety: 
*Choose carefully to avoid toxic ingredients in face paints & makeup.
*Consider these 26 ideas for safely celebrating Quarantine-O-Ween.
*Express your creativity with at-home Halloween celebrations.
*Have fun while staying safe.
*Keep these tips in mind to help ensure your children have a healthy and safe Halloween.

 Halloween may be a lot for some children to handle but we don’t want our kids to miss out on ALL of the excitement. Parents can help prepare their children, encourage them to enjoy the fun, minimize fears, and safely celebrate! 

Happy “Fear-Less” Halloween!

By Tammy Donoho
Image by: lukasa-niescioruk – Unsplash