Trick-or-Treating Can Be Fun

Monsters and ghosts may headline Halloween, but when those sorts of specific fears are combined with that of the unknown, the overall fright intensity can be quite high.

Fear is based on your judgment of the threat we are experiencing. That level can be intensified if there are unknowns about the threat, because uncertainty is an ingredient that feeds into general anxiety. Scary movies . . . are considered exceptionally frightening because they build on the fear of the unknown.

These films also are produced in a way to look real, and that intensifies the level of fear because it helps to convince us that the depicted events could actually happen.

Not Everyone Like to Be Scared
It’s important to remember that not everyone likes being scared. Almost any adult can
remember back to a scary movie or television show which caused so much fear that the emotional upset lingered for a few days, weeks, or months. Some may even still be haunted years later, and express regret that they ever viewed the film.

We should have a sense of what triggers our own fears, and if it is a concern we should avoid such films. Parents should always pay attention to how films affect children. Older children may become frightened while watching a scary movie if they realize there is a possibility that some realistic horrors can actually happen to people.

Fear can be a thrilling sensation for some kids, especially on Halloween, but parents should not push unwilling children into fear-inducing situations such as trick-or-treating.

We might think they will have fun, or we might remember having fun ourselves as children; however, it can be detrimental to a child to be placed unnecessarily in a fear situation. The child may not have that basic level of trust that everything will be okay.

This might seem irrational to adults, but it can quickly turn into a true panic situation for a child. If a youngster is scared to go trick-or-treating offer to tag along with them. You can also go trick-or-treating before dark. You can have an alternative plan for activities, such as a movie night at home or Halloween party.

Above all, do not force the issue. If a child fears trick-or-treating, that is really not a big deal. They will be less fearful in coming years.


Halloween Treats
If you do go the party route and find yourself entertaining young ghosts and goblins, try
some healthy alternatives to all those chocolate bars and candy treats.

With a limited amount of preparation time and creativity, parents can offer such goodies
as apple wedges dipped in caramel sauce; celery sticks with peanut butter; ants on a log
(frozen bananas topped with raisins); pretzels dipped in chocolate; or snack cereal
drizzled with melted chocolate or peanut butter and lightly sprinkled with powdered
sugar.

Try something that’s nutritious, but presented with a little extra twist so as to make it
more appealing to kids.

For healthier handout treats try small packages of raisins, goldfish crackers, pretzels,
trail mix, nuts, fruit roll-ups, or nut bars.

In addition, it is a good idea to ration the amount of candy a child eats at one time.
Package a small amount in a plastic bag for a special treat can help kids determine
how much is enough. Although kids love to have and eat a ton of candy which is
collected in a single Halloween night, parents should set limits on sugar intake—for their
children and themselves.