Starting Your Own Halloween Tradition

There are two times in the year where we put an extreme amount of pressure on our children to get fully consumed in the moment, enjoy the festivities and go with the flow: Christmas and Halloween. All year-long we teach our children not to talk to strangers, not to go to a stranger’s house, and most importantly, never take candy from a stranger. We educate our children to be very wary of these things, so is it such a stretch that when children who are very sensitive and highly aware of the dangers around them have a very hard time adjusting to this temporary change?  Remember, it’s just for one night!

Candy, Costumes and Sensory Overload
Let’s think for a moment about all the things that children are taking in at this time of year:

  • Noisy parties
  • Scratchy costumes
  • Constricting masks
  • Sounds of candy wrappers crunching
  •  Layers of clothing if trick or treating in colder weather
  • The weather – is it raining, cold, windy?
  • Strobe Lights and decorations
  • A usually quiet and calm street transformed by the chaos of the continual foot traffic of little ghouls and goblins
  • Increased sugar intake
  • Sound effects that illicit fear such as screaming or witches cackling

Turn the page below for ideas…

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Darlene Wierski-Devoe, CCP About Darlene Wierski-Devoe, CCP

Darlene is a blogger at Raising Socially Anxious Children Blog, author of the illustrated children's anxiety book "Just Like You", and a certified life coach at Talk Breathe Live. She specializes in childhood mood and anxiety disorders.

  • Bess

    Such a good point! It’s supposed to be a fun time of year, so if the kids aren’t enjoying it, why make them do it? You’ve suggested some great alternatives!

  • Joanna Keating-Velasco

    My church started offering Trunk or Treat out of our back parking lot. It’s a safe alternative for Halloween. One of the best things about this new venture is that many of the students from my school attend b/c I tell their families “come as you are” meaning if they have certain behaviors or mannerisms, this is where they can come and just have fun. The families need not worry about being judged or keeping their child “in line.” Every year, we get more and more students showing up and looking forward to a fun time where they can be themselves and dive into the Halloween experience. It’s during the day, it’s an easy way to go “door to door” (trunk to trunk) without leaving the parking lot’s safety and bounce away their worries in a bouncer. Even though there are lots of people there, the kids/teens/adults who attend have fun. It may not be for everyone, but if they show up, they are loved and given a fun experience.

  • socialanxiety

    Bess you wouldn’t believe how many parents I hear that are vigilant about the kids going out. It’s not fun for anyone and it’s not empowering them at all. Thanks for your comment.

  • socialanxiety

    Joanne that sounds absolutely amazing. What a great idea! What a great alternative. I think the thing for many children is the time of day. Yes, it is much more alluring to have pumpkins lit and goblins glowing but when you’re tired that brings out aggression not contentment so to have something like what you are describing in the day is such a great idea. Thanks so much for sharing that with us. Who knows maybe one day that will be showing up in a local parking lot near us.

  • Martianne Stanger

    Great alternatives and ideas.