As Halloween nears and holiday decorations abound, parades are planned and costumes are readied with much excitement. Most of the little ones at Open House will have no memory of last Halloween and may become confused and overwhelmed by the day’s events. Therefore we are passing along some tips for helping young children enjoy Halloween’s “kooky” creativity while managing its “spooky” side.
Since most young children enjoy playing dress-up, eating sweets, and visiting neighbors, focus your child’s Halloween on these activities. However, even with the best of preparation children can become overexcited and or frightened by Halloween costumes and decorations. Old anxieties, insecurities, and fears may become activated and compound with new ones, affecting your child’s behavior at home and in school.
Children may show aggression to defend against vague threats and fear of the unknown. They may regress to clinging, and separation fears once thought resolved may reappear. Children may show a sudden drop in verbal communication as they try to process such abstract concepts as ghosts. The dividing line between fantasy and reality may become blurred; therefore this is a good time to talk with your child about what is real and what is pretend.
To help your child enjoy Halloween, Open House has developed school-wide policies.
- We will read about and discuss Halloween.
- Classroom festivities will be developmentally appropriate.
- Costumes and masks will not be worn at school.
- “Dress-up” or face painting may be a choice in some classrooms.
- Weapons of any kind may not be brought to school.
We also have some general suggestions, which may be helpful:
- Reading books at home about Halloween will provide a forum for your child to ask questions and share feelings.
- When adults or children wear a mask, they should remove it periodically so that young children can be reassured that there “really is a person behind there”.
- Let your child know that there is no failure on his/her part to be afraid. All feelings are valid and should be acknowledged. Calmly reassure your child that you love them and that you will always do your best to keep them safe.
HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE HALLOWEEN!
For more on Halloween see the links below: