10 ways to ease Halloween phobias

Halloween phobia can cover a wide range of fears. Some children are simply afraid of being afraid, others have specific aversions to creepy crawlers. The imagination can shift into overdrive during this season. Vampires, ghosts, and monsters can disrupt a child's sleep night after night and decorations can be a source of torment. There are some things you can try to help ease their fears.

10 Ways to Ease Halloween Phobias

1, Cease and desist. First and foremost, if your child is freaked out at the slightest bit of psychological drama, do not let them watch scary movies or television shows. In my experience, this needs to include Disney Channel Halloween episodes and Halloween-themed cartoons. My daughter is easily disturbed by the storylines, as harmless as they may be. Reality rarely figures into phobias.

2. Leave the lights on. During this dark holiday season, it is OK if your child sleeps with a nightlight or is armed with a flashlight throughout the night.

3. Use humor. Join forces with your child to confront their fears. Use dramatic poses and silly faces to send "scary thoughts" fleeing. The sillier you can act, the better. Give your child something funny to focus on rather than what is spinning through their brain.

4, Add white noise. Turn on a fan or soft music to drown out any stray sound the house may make at night. This simple trick not only can help a child fall asleep, but stay asleep.

5. Look behind the curtain. Sometimes a child needs to see how something works in order to cure their fear. If they are afraid of a Halloween display, let them get an up close look if appropriate. Neighbors' decorations are often not as scary in the daylight.

6. Take off the mask. The disturbing image some of the scary masks on the market can give is enough to give a grown man the heebie jeebies. Avoid bringing these in the house if your child is scared, and do not let people purposely scare your child.

7. Size comparison. Remind your child of their size compared to spiders and other creepy crawlers. Study the creatures through library books and videos. Sometimes a formal introduction is all that is needed to erase, or minimize, this fear.

8. Preview parties. Before sending your child to a Halloween party, find out what they will be encountering. Then you can determine if it is something they can handle.

9. Talk about it. Let them explain their fears. Not only will talking about what bothers them help, it can give you specific ideas of how to help. Maybe the problem is not Halloween at all. Remember, though, regardless of how irrational the fear, do not humiliate the child by laughing at them.

10. Rest up. By the time Halloween arrives, school is in full swing, which means a change in schedule. Additionally, choosing a costume, the holiday parties and sweets can leave a child less than their best. Phobias can be amplified under stressful conditions. Regain control and be sure your child is sleeping and eating properly.

Reassure and remind your child that you are on their side. Much of Halloween is meant to be scary, so do not be surprised when your child is not amused at the festivities.

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