Explaining Halloween to children

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Halloween, for most of the kids, means fun as it usually involves getting dressed up and eating candy. But as exciting as it can be, the celebration can be both overwhelming and scary for little ones because developmentally, they are still learning to distinguish reality from fantasy.

Today, The Manila Times shares tips on how to teach kids about the origins and facts behind the tradition of Halloween and help them ease their fears, quickly and constructively.

Brush up on facts. Describe the origins of the holiday. Share how Halloween began as a Celtic holiday (called Samhain)—an old Irish festival and how it evolved into All Hallows’ Eve.

Help children ease their Halloween fears quickly and constructively

Get cooking. If you have a child who loves to help in the kitchen, this can be a great time to talk about Halloween’s history while preparing treats.

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Visualize. There are certain characters that are associated with Halloween: ghosts, witches, skeletons, vampires and werewolves. Explain to them that Halloween is a sort of “opposite day,” where nice people try to look mean, and pretty people try to look ugly, and then talk and draw examples by grabbing a photo of someone they know wearing a costume. Also say that people who wear scary costumes and come to the door are for a special one-night affair only.

Be creative. Have fun drawing, coloring and cutting out pictures from magazines of different types of costumes. Allow them to help with the decorations, and ask them to help make it look scarier. This will help them understand that many costumes are supposed to look mean and nasty.

Desensitize. Children will notice the screeches of excited children, and the scary music and the sounds coming from pop-up decorations. Give them a safe place away from the scary voices, where they can listen to or watch something comforting.

Put extra care. Some of them will need extra care during this scary season. These children are best sheltered as much as possible, by creating a more pleasant atmosphere around Halloween. Keep their activities limited to the daylight hours, preferably contained in either your home or a close friend’s.

Make it a family affair. Take them to kids’ Halloween parties and spend the day with them. They can have fun getting their faces painted and do trick-or-treats with other children.

Sources: thespec.com, care.com

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