Ah Halloween, my favorite time of the year! The one time where you can dress up as anything you want, get free candy and see all the creative pumpkins. However, we never stop to think that Halloween can be a very confusing holiday for children.
First off, children see it as a day where there is a lot of scary monsters around and despite the fact that we teach children not to take candy from strangers, this day is an exception. So one might say how do we prepare our toddlers for Halloween?
Sweet Pea meet Halloween
Stores typically start to display their Halloween decorations in late August. However, I suggest starting the conversation with your toddler in late September and walk with them to see the Halloween décor in the stores.
What I did with my niece was talk about Halloween during the month of September. I talked about pumpkins, witches, candy, fall colors and masks. Even though masks can be quite scary, I explained in the best way I can that underneath the mask was a person. I also played some of my favorite Halloween songs and had a little dance party with her.
Now it was time for me to introduce her to Halloween decorations so I took her to Walmart. When we got there I started by talking about the decorations that were displayed and had her touch some of them. When we came across the “scary” décor like scarecrows, Halloween masks or even the fake hands, I told her that it was ok and there was nothing to be scared of. To earn her trust I touched the decorations myself and even made some jokes with them that made her laugh. She got more comfortable and walking past them was a breeze.
There are also other Halloween stores that only open for the holiday. One of my favorite Halloween stores is Spirit Halloween, they have a large selection of costumes and decorations, but I also love the fact that they collect donations for sick kids to give them a special Halloween. I was itching to introduce that store to my niece; nevertheless I know how scary some of the masks and displays can be, so I had to think of a way on how I could still take her inside.
First, I visited my nearest location and took a look around. Now that I knew what was inside, I would be able to control and guide her in having a positive experience in the store. However, oftentimes children show interest in things we typically wouldn’t think they would be and not to mention that sometimes things don’t go as planned. For example, when you walk in the entrance of the store there is a medium size display with electronic decorations; such as moving clowns, mean looking dogs and skeletons. However they only “come to life” once you step or push the button. I was planning on skipping that display all together when to my surprise my niece wanted to see it. She seemed to be fine as she was waving hi to the electronic decorations. Before anyone could push the button I redirected her to the other Halloween decorations so that she didn’t get scared. She showed some interest and didn’t seem to be scared as I used some humor to help ease any fear she may have had.
In conclusion, small talks and trips can help your toddler understand the holiday a little better. The goal is not only for them to acknowledge and understand the holiday but also not to be scared of it. Remember that all children react to things differently so please don’t force your toddler to see things they do not like. Follow their lead in interest and if they are not ready to explore the decorations then that is ok as long as you explained what Halloween is all about.
Until next time……..Happy Spooking!
About the Author
Karen Braga graduated from Sheridan College with an Early Childhood Education Diploma. She worked with children for about five years before expanding her skills in Administration. Karen is a loving Godmother/Auntie to one. Karen is passionate and knowledgeable about Halloween. Combined with her ECE background and passion on Halloween, she has recently become an expert writer on the topic for mom blogger, Momma Braga. Karen hopes by sharing her knowledge, tips and tricks, she can help families enjoy this holiday.