I usually see an increase in nighttime fears in my Behavioral Sleep Medicine practice around this time of year, and I bet you can guess why: it’s Halloween season. Some kids love to be scared and are fascinated by the many sights and sounds of Halloween. For other kids, Halloween can be more scary than fun – so much so that you end up with a new bed-mate at night because of Halloween-related fears or nightmares. That doesn’t mean you should sequester your family in the house between now and next Tuesday, but if you have a kiddo that frightens easily, consider trying these Halloween season tips.
Tips To Ease Halloween Fright
Focus on the fun of Halloween instead of the scariness.
Try activities that represent the Halloween season that have nothing to do with being scared: carving pumpkins, treat or treating, making Halloween treats, putting up fun decorations, or traditional Fall activities like apple picking.
Opt for non-scary costumes.
This one is easy. There are so many options for store-bought and homemade costumes that don’t involve monsters, severed heads or scary clowns.
Speaking of clowns…
So clown costumes (likely patterned after the character in the successful move “It”) are going to be popular this year, so be ready. There is actually a name for a fear of clowns – coulrophobia. (There’s a name for everything, huh…) Click here to learn some tips about helping your child manage fears of clowns or other things.
Go behind the mask.
An additional tip about scary costumes and decorations: demystify them. You can’t avoid every scary image during the Halloween season. Even if you could, this is not a great plan as it can exacerbate the issue by reinforcing to your child that costumes and decorations are something they should be afraid of. Instead, demystify them by taking your kiddo to a Halloween store so they can see the costumes and decorations in a non-threatening venue. Another idea: let them watch (or maybe even help) older siblings or friends put on their Halloween make-up or costumes.
Halloween for children with special needs.
Halloween can be an exciting holiday for all kids. You may find that some additional preparation may be helpful for kiddos with special needs. Here are some tips for making Halloween less scary.
Let us know how you easy your child’s Halloween fears. And if you want to support Sleepyhead Beds here’s how you can help: donate beds, bedding or funds or volunteer to help us get #Beds2KCKids. Learn more here.
Have fun, and sleep well!
Kevin C. Smith, PhD
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Certified in Behavioral Sleep Medicine (CBSM)
Board Member, Sleepyhead Beds
The information provided on this site is not medical advice. The content of this site is made individually by the author and is not made on behalf of Sleepyhead Beds or any other entity. Should you have questions about sleep issues, please consult your personal physician.Back to News & Events