Halloween is a time of year that is enjoyed by so many children. Fancy dress, games, sweets, what’s not to love? Having a scare-fest is great fun for most of us, but some children can get overwhelmed by the various elements that go into Halloween.
The thing about having a good scare is that the fun comes from being able to control the amount of fright we receive. Think about it, there are ‘scary movies’ that we can watch over and over while biting our fingernails, with a cushion ready to cover our faces. That’s fun. But, on the other hand, there are movies that contain traumatic material that we say to ourselves, I can’t watch that. As adults, that works, because we have learned what feels safe and what doesn’t, and we can protect ourselves accordingly.
Children are only learning about what is safe and what isn’t. Yes, 9 times out of 10 they will be guided by us in their judgements of whether something is ok. If we tell them it is, most of the time they trust us and engage in whatever activity we are proposing.
However, when a child has a specific reaction to a given trigger, no amount of reassurance from their parents or caregiver will help overcome that. As the adults in this situation, it is our job to help that child feel safe and comfortable in their surroundings.
When it comes to Halloween, if your child broaches the holiday with trepidation, instead of being tempted to label your child as a ‘stick in the mud’, why not use some of our Emma Slowe Children’s Entertainer Halloween Fixes for Nervous Kids. They will help ensure that everyone can enjoy the festivities. We never like to leave anyone out.
Costume Halloween Fixes
While many children love to dress up, shop bought costumes can pose problems for some children. If they have sensory issues, then anything that feels out of the ordinary may be uncomfortable for them. Materials that produce static can also be an issue. The best fix for this is to make your own costumes. This takes a little planning, but with some forethought and a little creativity you can create an excellent costume, that looks better than any shop bought alternative while keeping your child happy and comfortable.
Discuss some options with your child in advance of Halloween and together you can browse your wardrobes to see what you can use to create the look. Even if you decide to borrow an item from a sibling, this can be less intimidating than wearing something new.
Try on the costume before Halloween so that your child can get used to it. Let them wear it while playing at home for shorts periods, this will make it less of an ordeal when Halloween comes around.
If your child is particularly sensitive to the sound of fireworks, it might be worth trying to see how you can incorporate some ear muffs into their costume. These can be decorated to fit in with the overall look while minimising the impact of the loud noises on Halloween night.
Trick or Treat Halloween Fixes
The tradition in this country is for children to go trick or treating after dark. It makes sense as it’s not scary during daylight hours – and it gives parents a chance to get home from work, make the dinner and get organised!
However, if your child does not enjoy the outing involved in going trick or treating explore how you might be able to do it differently so that they can enjoy it. You could try going before sunset so that it is still bright. If you worry that there won’t be anyone home, let some friends or family know your plans and arrange to target them early in the day. Doing so reduces the anxiety of knocking on a stranger’s door, cuts out the element of darkness – and allows your child to see a friendly, familiar face.
Game & Activity Halloween Fixes
There are so many fun games for Halloween, however, again, a lot of them involve sensory experiences – think bobbing for apples, the peanut in the flour or putting your hands in a mystery bowl of who knows what! Again, these can be great fun for many children but may cause anxiety in others.
You can easily plan games that will be fun for everyone to enjoy by putting a Halloween spin on old favourites. Hot Potato becomes Hot Pumpkin – and reminds children that a lighting jack o’lantern gets hot and should not be touched!
Have a relay race in which each member of the team has to bring one piece of a disassembled skeleton (a shop bought one will work) to the finish line and then the team who correctly lines the skeleton pieces together first wins.
Use gourds and pumpkins to create a Halloween bowling experience. Line some gourds up as pins and roll the pumpkins to knock them over. A word of warning: Don’t try to do this over a long distance as the pumpkins aren’t as aerodynamic as actual bowling balls. Keep the distance short to avoid frustration.
Decoration Halloween Fixes
While we love Halloween decorations – ESCE headquarters might get a little overdone! – not everyone can appreciate the gory decorations that are available to purchase in most shops. If your child is nervous about Halloween and gets upset at the sight of bought decorations, it’s time to go back to basics. Yes, that’s right – make your own!
One of the great things about making your own Halloween decorations is that you can control how scary (or not) they are! When a child makes decorations themselves they are in a position of control. So, pull out the art supplies and enjoy yourselves by decorating your home with your own creations. If you need ideas of what to make you can find plenty of inspiration on Pinterest. Choose from pumpkins, autumnal wreaths, friendly-faced ghosts and black cats.
No one will feel left out; your house will look festive – and you’ll have fun in the process. Not to mention saving a few quid on shop bought decorations.
These are just a few ways to ensure that all the children have a fun and enjoyable Halloween.
At Emma Slowe Children’s Entertainer, no kid ever gets left out of the party. If you’re looking for a fun way to help the children get excited for Halloween, why not come along to our Kids Halloween Disco on Saturday, the 27th of October at Stars of Erin Community Centre.
The event runs from 2 – 4pm and is just €5 per child. We hope to see you there!
Have a fun and safe Halloween,