Calling All Ghouls and Ghosts!

Authored by David Christensen, Individual and Family Therapist

Halloween season is upon us and if this holiday brings a little parenting fright, then join the club.  Halloween is often a blissful time for children and teens alike but creates a lot of stress for parents.  With stories of strangers putting razor blades in candy to kids being injured while trick-or-treating it is understandable why parents would be worried.  With a few safety tips, Halloween can be enjoyed by all.

Preparation – Young children should be prepared for possible scary costumes and decorations.  Explain that people like to decorate their yards and dress up in costumes that might seem a little scary.  Let them know that it is pretend and it’s ok to be scared.  This is a great time to talk about what being scared feels like and what they can do to help them feel better.  Encourage them to tell you if they feel nervous or scared while you are out.

Costumes – With darkness coming on earlier and limited visibility it is best to wear bright or reflective costumes.  Kids are safest when they do not wear masks as they will have full use of their peripheral vision.  Long and/or flowy costumes can present a tripping hazard.  Check the weather report and have them dress with appropriate warm under-clothing or a jacket, if necessary.

Trick-or-Treating – Trick-or-treating can be great fun.  Be sure to trick-or-treat with your children and carry a flashlight for improved vision and increased visibility.  Consider going out in a group with other families from your neighborhood – remember, there is safety in numbers!  If you feel comfortable with your teens trick-or-treating with their friends, decide ahead of time how long they will be out and where they will trick-or-treat.  Encourage them to be home on-time and stick to their designated plan in case an emergency arises and you need to find them.

After-math – Time to eat!  Inspect all candy and consider only eating commercial goods.  Throw away any candy that is expired, open or unwrapped.

With a little planning and preparation Halloween can be loads of fun and create family memories for years to come!  For information about Youth Services and the free resources offered pleased contact us at (385) 468-4500.