Trick or Treat: Can Halloween Affect Your Child’s Sleep?

By: Jenn Kelner, CPA, CA
Certified Child Sleep Consultant


What kid doesn’t love Halloween; they get to dress up in fun costumes and go door to door collecting candy! Seems harmless enough but have you ever thought about how Halloween can negatively affect your child’s sleep? Here are a few things to keep in mind as Halloween approaches and how you can prevent your child’s sleep from being derailed.

Avoid Too Much Sugar – Everyone reacts a little differently to sugar, but it’s better to be on the safe side and avoid letting your children eat too much of that Halloween candy right before bed. When we eat sugar, it raises our blood sugar level, triggering the body to release the hormone insulin to bring your blood sugar level back to normal. This rapid fluctuation in hormones can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Avoid Too Much Chocolate – Not only is there sugar in chocolate, but there is also enough caffeine in chocolate to keep your child awake past their bedtime. Caffeine should be limited to before lunch so it doesn’t affect falling asleep at bedtime.

Avoid Scary Movies – Scary movies can seem like a fun idea, but even I have trouble sleeping after a scary movie! For some children, the evening news is enough to delay the onset of sleep. To avoid difficulty falling asleep and the potential for nightmares and scary dreams, limit the exposure to scary or disturbing images.

There are some upsides to Halloween this year. October 31st falls on a Saturday, which means if they do go to bed slightly later you won’t have to get them up early for school the next day. Also, the end of Daylight Saving Time is November 1st at 2am, so if your child goes to bed a little later and sleeps in a little later, they should be adjusted to the time change! If they don’t sleep in, or they’ve lost a bit of sleep, move bedtime slightly earlier the next night to help them catch up.

Happy Halloween!