I've been pondering Halloween . . .
I don't remember when it got quite so big in the UK. I do remember, as a child, my siblings and I having a party at my Grandma's, wearing binbags for capes and DIY witches' hats, bobbing for apples. We may have gone trick or treating once or twice. But I don't remember there being such a sensation around it.
Now, with my own children, we have a nod towards Halloween. They each have a costume and we will have sweets in for those who come around to our door. But we don't really go "all out".
I was looking at some of the costumes in our local supermarket, and thinking how scary some of them were for young children. I felt really uneasy with some of the costumes on offer.
And it got me to thinking about those children who will be scared of the monsters, and how we deal with it all. It's hard to escape it, but you can make it a little less scary and a bit more fun!
If your child does seem to be scared by Halloween, don't dismiss his/her fears. As with any fear or worry they express, listen to them and acknowledge that they feel scared, whilst reassuring them that you can help. Be aware of how your child is acting or feeling. Little ones may not be able to tell you what it is that they don't like, so be aware that there may be things that you don't find frightening, but your child does. Often, we find children are simply scared of people dressing up, no matter what the costume (a grown up dressed as Peppa Pig or Mickey Mouse can be scary to a small child!) Some children find it especially scary when someone they know changes their appearance with a mask or costume, so it's important to involve them and talk to them about the changes and any fears they have.
Some children may like the idea of Halloween, but be scared of the dark, or the idea of knocking on a stranger's door or of strangers coming to their house (after all, don't we normally instill a sense of fear and caution in them about strangers?!) Why not go out early, in the daylight, or host your own party instead? And costumes don't have to be scary! Dressing up as a superhero or fairy can be just as much fun.
Or, for an alternative approach, instead of focusing on the scariness of Halloween, why not celebrate autumn; the beauty of the colours as the season changes, the harvest? Make a leaf picture, collect conkers, maybe donate something to your local harvest festival?
Enjoy the half-term together, however you choose to spend it.
The original version of this blog was posted on my Relax Kids webpage in October 2016.