Preparing for a Fun and Stress-Free Halloween Experience for Children

Kids in halloween customes

Halloween is an eventful time filled with spooky stories, sweet treats, and best of all getting to dress up as your favorite character. At times, it comes with the stress of preparation such as getting the right costume, setting healthy limits on sugar intake, and time limits on trick or treating. This may be especially difficult if your child has challenges with managing their emotions or in other words having a tantrum. Here are a few tips on how to prepare for a fun Halloween experience.Practice offering positive attention. For example you may say “ I love that you asked for a costume so kindly by saying please and thank you.”

Offer choices to your child. This will help your child feel as though they have some control over their decisions. An example would be “would you like to trick or treat in our neighborhood or your cousin’s neighborhood?”

Have a conversation of limitations and prepare them for what they should expect through the night. This may be around what candy they are allowed to keep and how many they may eat in a day. This also helps them mentally prepare for scary costumes and allows them to navigate the night much smoother.

Actively and empathetically listen to your child’s request and consider the costs and benefits before you respond to them. Take your time to answer your child and explain the reasons for your decision. This may look like “I love your idea of going to the haunted house however, there is an age limit which won’t permit you to go in.”

Identify your child’s limitations and understand their patterns. Do they get “hangry,” do they act up when they are sleepy, do they get over-stimulated quickly, or are they afraid of spooky costumes? Having an understanding of this helps us as caregivers adjust our plans accordingly to ensure everyone enjoys Halloween.

Author: Dr. Rahmany National Clinical Director for Cyti Psychological 

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger,  these resources can provide you with immediate help:
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
24 Hour Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Crisis Text Line Text TALK to 741741