Halloween and Young Children

Halloween can sometimes be scary for younger children so it's important to help them approach this holiday with a sense of fun and mystery, instead of fear and trepidation. Children love to dress in costumes, whether it's Halloween costumes, a dance recital tutu, a soccer uniform, or even dad's old clothes. I took a poll of ten children under the age of 6 to find out what they wanted to dress up as for Halloween. The results included two fairies, a fireman, a cowboy, three superheroes, a princess, a tiger, and a mermaid. Notice that none of them said ghost, goblin, zombie, or vampire!
Parents of young children can seek out non-frightening local activities like Fall Festivals that take place during the daytime to help ease the fears of walking around at night on Halloween and seeing older kids and teens (and adults!) dressed in costumes of blood, death and monsters. There will be time enough for those costumes when the children are older. Here are some other tips to help you make Halloween a special memory for your young kids:
  1. Allow the child to help choose their Halloween costume, but make sure they understand that mom or dad has the final say. Avoid the nightmare of the Halloween aisle and shop online in the comfort of your home at mrcostumes.com with your child in your lap.
  2. Allow the child to wear their costume around the house for a few days prior to Halloween to help them understand that a costume does not change who they really are.
  3. Often the mask is what scares a child the most, so make paper plate masks together with your child to demonstrate that a costume changes only who others see them as. 
  4. Explore the insides of a pumpkin together. Let young children touch the yucky insides and if they are feeling brave, use their hands to pull out pumpkin seeds with you. Roast the seeds together. Let the child draw the face on the pumpkin that the grown-ups will carve (for safety). 
  5. To introduce some of the "scarier" elements to your child, make ghost sugar cookies together in the kitchen, pipe cleaner spiders, and construction paper witch hats. If it's fun, it's not scary!
  6. Read some age-appropriate Halloween-themed books together in the weeks before the holiday to help familiarize kids with the traditions surrounding this fun holiday.
  7. If older children are going trick-or-treating, your young child can stay home with the other parent to help answer the door and hand out candy. In the safety of their own home with a parent nearby, young children are more likely to take a peek at the costumes on the kids at the door.
  8. When you do decide your young child is old enough for Halloween night activities, try to take them early in the evening before it gets too dark. Usually our doorbell starts ringing with young kids around 5:30 p.m. Older kids often begin knocking around 7 p.m. 
  9. Monitor the amount of candy and treats your young child is eating on Halloween. The real nightmare is a sugar-high kindergartener that won't go to bed because of a severe stomachache!
  10. Set a good example on Halloween by maintaining a positive, fun outlook. Be sure to take lots of pictures to share with your child in the coming years as they get older.


  1. Great post.. this is how it should be for young children.

  2. These are great tips! I'm sharing with my friends and sisters who have little ones!

  3. this is a great post thanks for sharing :)

  4. Great post with great tips. I think it is very important to get as the kids as involved as possible. We always let them pick their costume and do as many crafts and fun things together as we can. That is why it's our favorite holiday!


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