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3 Tips for Halloween Fears - and - Should Teens be Trick-or-Treating???

Halloween has always been one of our favorite holidays. Between pretending to be a favorite character, to filling empty plastic pumpkins with tons of (free!) candy, many of us have happy memories. For some children, however, Halloween can be a time of escalated fears instead of fun.

Here are 3 tips for upping the "fun factor".

1)Trick or treat in daylight, particularly for kids with a fear of the dark. Visit known family, friends and neighbors where your child can recognize familiar friendly faces.

2)Talk to your child in advance about any concerns or fears they have. Emphasize that Halloween is about pretending. Younger children, especially those under 5, may have more difficulty understanding the differences between real and pretend.

3) Have your child bring a toy, stuffed animal, or other object with them that provides comfort in the event that they feel anxious. Don't insist that your child go up to the door alone if they aren't comfortable. Your physical presence can go a long way towards reassuring them they are safe.

On the other side of the spectrum, your teen may have long ago conquered their fears around Halloween and may still want to go trick-or-treating. Is that a bad idea? Aren't they too old? Shouldn't they just "grow up" already? If your teen is a responsible, well-behaved kid who still finds joy in the holiday, why not let her experience the fun of dressing up, connecting with neighbors, and joining friends or family in this tradition? Adolescence can be tough sometimes. There are many stresses an adolescent deals with; academic pressures, social issues, drugs and alcohol, etc. Why not enjoy some innocent fun to de-stress, connect with friends, and create light-hearted, fun memories? Set a curfew if he is going around the neighborhood, review safety and rules about not going to houses with lights off (the signal that a house is not participating in giving out candy), and have him agree to check in with you by text at an agreed upon time.

Have fun!!!

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