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Halloween Safety and Mental Health

Halloween and Fall bring an exciting chill to the air. Kids are excited to have their school parades, choose their costumes and stock up on sugary treats.

Halloween, when you ask most parents, can be stressful. Running from school to school to make sure you see everyone’s parade, facilitating the cascade of trick or treating options, or lack thereof.  It is a fun time, but also planning ahead and preparation can ensure that your child is safe.

Make sure you discuss stranger rules and safety in case you get sidetracked while trick or treating. At least in our town the children trick or treat in one main street, and it can be utter chaos-make sure you have a meet up plan or have coordinated with other adults to watch the group.

Discuss with your child to not eat the candy until you get home, while more likely than not the treats are safe, it is always better to be careful.

Halloween is not the time to try to parent sugar intake and limit. Allow your child to engage in candy eating and celebrate the holiday. You can ask reflective questions about how they feel and if they should engage in eating the extra candy-but don’t try to parent it-everything in moderation.  

For kids who struggle with anxiety or sensory processing issues, it is important to talk through language for them to ask for a break, and let them know that it is ok if they don’t want to continue to trick or treat, or if they need to go home. It is important to be aware of their precursors and make sure you don’t push it, or they may have a meltdown or struggle socially. Let them know that it is ok to trick or treat for a little, and go back home to hand out candy or watch a Halloween movie-there are a number of ways to enjoy this fall holiday.

So to summarize, have a meet up plan, talk about stranger danger and candy checking, and check in with your child throughout the day. The exhaustion and overstimulation some of us feel is not limited to us as parents, but often your child, especially if they have underlying anxiety or social worries.  It is ok to not do it all, and when you cue into your child you will have the most successful holiday yet.  

Happy Halloween!