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Halloween decorations are now everywhere so you may notice that preschoolers are feeling more anxious than usual. This year might even be the first time for some to actually express fear of the season. To save our little ones from fright, here’s how to make Halloween less scary for kids.
When it comes to managing fear and anxiety in children, they must understand that no matter what, you are there to keep and make them feel safe. Teaching them that what actually scares the mind is led by their growing imaginations will help them cope with more complex fears of being alone, the dark, or characters from movies.
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How to Make Halloween Less Scary for Kids
There are non-upsetting ways to celebrate Halloween without bringing the darker side of the season into the classroom. The trick is to do the opposite of scary:
1) Help Kids Understand the “Halloween Fear”
There are some nonverbal indicators to watch out for even if your child does not express his fear in words. She might slink away behind you, or he might appear stiff. Let them express their feelings through facial expressions in the mirror. What does your face seem like when you’re terrified, for instance? What does happiness look like to you?” “Can you make a scary face smile?”
Facilitate their emotional connection to what’s significant which is that those Halloween costumes are for startling so people will laugh. Since it only happens during Halloween, everybody has to play with those friends who are at the back of those horror faces. The next time they see a terrifying costume, they might first startle them..and the fun goes.
2) Settle in with a lot of Halloween Storytime
Use Halloween books with a lot of pictures and talk a lot about the occasion — why it’s being celebrated and why they shouldn’t be scared. Show both the silly and spooky stuff around that proves Halloween is all just for fun.
Explain that it is during this time of year that people wear costumes with scary decorations because Halloween is a day when everybody can play dress up. Let your stories implant in their mind that everything about Halloween is just “all pretend.”
3) Suspense Movies are better than Terror-Stricken
Even the grown-ups get shaken by the famous scary movies Friday the thirteenth, Halloween, and The Ring. Even myself! These movies definitely are for fun but not for little children at all.
Halloween movies can induce nightmares and anxiety. So if you’re planning to watch movies with your preschoolers, pick films and TV shows that give children heightened feelings of surprise instead; excitement, suspense, and anticipation about what is going to happen in the story next.
4) Use Non-Frightening Decorations
Get rid of zombies, monsters, red-eyed witches, ghouls, and blood. Such sightings are disturbing for little learners and being away from the comfort of their homes can make them sicker.
Go for smiling pumpkins, friendly witches, funny cartoons, and scarecrows. Giving your classroom a dreamy look is healthier than spine-chilling. Try those fun inflatables and station them outside your classroom door.
5) Brighten up with Friendly Costumes
Children like Superheroes more than Frankenstein. Since you have the freedom to get tons of tricks, it’s always nice to greet the kids with the getup of superheroes. There are plenty of ideas and inspiration.
You can incorporate nature, the forest, and animals that you can boost into nymphs. If you like to reveal the wild side of wild creatures then it’s all in the makeup. Have you tried leaves of trees or peacock feathers for a headdress?
6) Transformers Soundwave Costumes
Who doesn’t enjoy the Transformers? Ask the kids if they’d love to dress up like robots on Halloween. They’ll surely reply with a big “Yes!.” Then put on the thrill of the kids wearing the classic 1980s Decepticon from cardboard boxes and duct tape.
Plan and gather materials with the class, rough draft, and bring the pieces together. Colorful duct tape will make everything feel easier and more fun to assemble. There’s no need to perfect the costume, as long as it fits, then it’s Happy Halloween!
7) Explore Colors with Natural Paints
Combine 3 teaspoons of cornstarch with 1½ teaspoons of water then stir the mixture in 1½ teaspoons of cold cream. Add food color, mix and then apply paint on the face, arms, and hands. If you have to buy, provide natural face paints that are 100% safe for children’s use.
The moment kids will start startling classmates and you, that means, they have absorbed the concept of the occasion. They will go home with such ideas that they can imitate doing and teach their siblings to create fun props without inducing fear and terror.
8) Be thoughtful about masks
Since the easiest getup is to wear Halloween-inspired masks, be prepared to greet your class with your mask off at first. Show them your props, explain why you’re using them, and then let them watch you put your mask on and off with a smile.
Even if some kids appear scared, they will get familiar with the concept that you (their teacher) are the one behind the mask and that you’re simply being playful with them. Be very careful about other children scaring those who are more nervous.
9) Go for a Super Sweet Halloween
Like always, do it with treats – candies, fun drinks, finger foods, and more delicacies. Instead of buying plastic pumpkins for the tray, try a reusable shopping bag this year.
Do you want to make a Halloween-themed dessert? There are plenty of delicious-looking treats that are also easy to make. Some don’t even need special decoration. The key is to simply find something to satisfy the sweet tooth of your preschoolers.
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Sensitive Consideration for Kids
Sometimes, as adults, we aren’t sensitive enough to consider how crazy Halloween props might be for children. When putting on a scary mask, many tend to forget how kids can get confused about what’s going on and why everything around them gets scary all of a sudden.
The concept of Halloween can be complex for a child. In fact, even friendly masks can look creepy to some. As teachers, utilize opportunities that reassure preschoolers with some sense of protection. When they know and understand that everyone gets scared at times, even you and their parents, they will try to act like you. The more they pretend they are brave, the better they are able to survive the “fears of Halloween.”
Do you have ideas on how we teachers can make Halloween less scary and stressful for our preschoolers? Share them with us in the comments.