By Vicky As a child I have good memories of trick or treating. I loved dressing up and even made my own costume a couple of times. I remember the streets being full of kids, dragging their packed pillow cases door to door for more candy. When I would get home, I would dump all of my candy on the floor and then sort it into categories: chocolate bars, rockets, kisses, chips, gum, etc. and write down an inventory of everything I got. What a thrill it was to find a whole candy bar or a can of pop among the spoils.
But not all kids love Halloween. For some kids there is no appeal to getting dressed up. For others who are scared easily, Halloween is one big terrifying experience.
When Joel was two years old, he asked for a pirate costume and seemed excited as Halloween approached. But when it arrived, he seemed reluctant. He put on his costume, we took some pictures and then headed out for some trick-or-treating. The first house we went to was the neighbour across the street. Joel eagerly rang the doorbell, and when she came to the door to hand out candy he backed away and started to cry. I coaxed him along to a couple more houses before giving up and heading home.
Last year he asked for a police costume. I found an authentic looking one with handcuffs and a walkie-talkie, but on Halloween night he changed his tune and insisted he wanted to be Spiderman. He had some Spiderman pjs so I put them on top of his clothes and off we went.
Knowing what to expect this year, he was excited about trick-or-treating, and happily went along down the street. Until we got to the spooky Halloween house. Most neighborhoods have them, the house that goes over the top with the decorations. Spooky music, smoke machines, scary zombies hanging from trees, this house had it all, including a haunted walk through the backyard and into the garage. We took a few steps toward the gate and then Joel froze. He told me he was scared and didn't want to go any further. Yet Kiernan happily went through and continued to trick-or-treat long after we'd headed home.
Halloween can be scary, but it should be fun! If you have a child that seems nervous or afraid of Halloween, here are some things that might work for them:
-Celebrate Halloween during the day. Join the Kids in the Capital Halloween Party at Boston Pizza! With the lights on, there's less chance of being scared - Go with the flow. If they don't want to wear a costume, don't push it. It's not worth traumatizing them just to get a few pictures. -Talk about what to expect on Halloween night. The scary costumes and masks are just pretend, the zombies in the trees aren't real. It's all just for fun.| -Let your child lead . If there is a house that scares them for whatever reason, skip it. When they've had enough, head home. -Remind them that treats do not need to be enjoyed all at once, and that it's better to make them last to enjoy them longer (this is one we're working on too!)
This year Joel asked to be Woody, and his friend Kiernan is going as Buzz Lightyear. He may or may not chicken out at the last minute. But if he does, I'm ok with that. If anything, there will be less candy in the house to tempt me!