Halloween Hijinks ; Simple tips to calm Halloween Hysteria!
The Halloween holiday can be lots of fun, filled with tricks, treats, ghoul and gore. But for some small children, it can be a traumatic time. Small children may struggle to understand the difference between the reality and the fantasy of the ghoul and gore. This may evoke feelings of insecurity and anxiety and perhaps lead to meltdowns.
See below for some simple ways to support small children during this time.
You as their influencer
At this early stage in your child’s life; you are the most influential person in their world. Whatever you do, they will be sure to imitate. If they see you having fun with, playing with, or laughing at scary characters, whether they are real people or toys, they will begin to understand that interacting with spooky characters can be an opportunity to have fun and be playful.
Humour and Playfulness
Using humour and playfulness are great ways to diffuse tense and scary situations. During the Halloween festivities, big group gatherings can become quite overwhelming for small children. Try and find opportunities to team up with them to “scare” others. Children love to think that they are scaring the life out of grown-ups.Set up situations with other adults, so that they know what's coming. Ask other adults to respond to the "scare" playfully. This will give your child a sense of agency and control with playful fun and positivity.
Watch the sugar intake
Don’t forget that increased levels of sugar intake can cause increased levels of “nervous” excitement. Added to the increased sugar intake are the increases in high jinks, manic activity, loud noises and sensory overload. What goes up must always come down, so be ready for that. It is very likely their the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) will probably start to work on overtime. We may see weepiness, tantrums, withdrawal and perhaps a meltdown episode. Finding opportunities to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) to step in, should help. We call this “rest and digest” See below.
Rest and Digest
Turn down the volume and the lights if possible. Find something familiar and comforting to watch or an audibook to listen to. If possible, find a quiet space with some comforting sensory toys to support sensory regulation.
Not all children need to engage ! Halloween is not everybody's cup of tea. If your child is communicating stress and discomfort, remember they don't have to engage.