Children will have very different reactions to trick or treating. Those with very shy temperaments may cling closely to their parent or show obvious signs of discomfort towards scary masks and costumes. Children with a more easy-going temperament, may show great excitement or react in a neutral way. It’s important to deal with your child’s emotions in a sensitive, understanding way. Fears seem especially common in children between three and six years of age, when a child’s ability to think about and remember scary things increases.
Prepare your child for things you expect will be scary for them. Talk to them in advance of the event about how people like to dress up in funny and scary-looking costumes. Give your child an opportunity to voice any concerns and together you can develop a plan to help them cope when they come face to face with the source of their fear. Try making up funny names for monsters that they can use when they spot one. For example, “There goes Victor the Vile Vampire or Frankie Frankenstein”.
Just being able to label and use words allows your child to exert some power and manage negative emotions. When you comfort your frightened child, you are helping them feel safe. This sense of security gives them the courage needed to eventually face and conquer their fears.