The arrival of October means the eager anticipation of Halloween has finally come to an end. Halloween candy, costumes, television shows and movies abound for all, but be mindful or your little trick-or-treaters.
“Preschool children and those in early elementary school often have a difficult time with Halloween,” she said Theresa Kruczek, a counseling psychology professor at Indiana’s 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.”
So how do parents make Halloween less scary? BY not forgetting anti-monster spray, of course. Kruczek states that after a young child watches a scary movie or is frightened by a Halloween costume, parents should reach for a can of “anti-monster spray” before bedtime.
“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,” she said. “Monsters don’t like nice-smelling stuff.”
Decorate your own anti-monster spray by covering the air freshener label in paper or an image of a monster with a prohibition sign through it to show your child what the spray will do.
Kruczek also advises to limit preschoolers to 30 minutes or less of activities, including trick-or-treating and only during daylight hours. She also cautions parents and siblings to never wear masks around youngsters afraid of such items and to ask friends and strangers to take off masks to show children that there really is a person under the costume.
In families with children of varying age ranges, allow each youngster to participate in age-appropriate activities and avoid haunted houses unless the facility offers age-appropriate activities.
“Just because you love haunted houses doesn’t mean your 4-year-old will,” said Kruczek. “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.”