Tips for Timid Trick-or-Treaters
Admit it. You’ve been counting down the days to Halloween ever since you bought that perfect costume for your preschooler. You’re drooling over the picture taking possibilities!
But as an early childhood educator who’s worked with preschool children for more than 20 years, I am here to warn you: I’ve seen many children decide that, come the big day, they want nothing to do with Halloween. And I’ve seen shocked and disappointed parents caught up in a power struggle.
She may have loved the whole idea of Halloween a few days ago, but come October 31st, your little one might decide she’s not ready.
So prepare yourself with a couple of back-up plans so you and your timid trick-or-treater can enjoy the festivities.
- Don’t be shocked if your trick-or-treater decides his costume is too itchy, too hot, too heavy or just too freaky. Maybe it’s a comfort thing or maybe it’s all about fashion. But if he refuses to wear his costume, make a ‘costume’ from some of his favorite clothes. Add a tool belt and a toy hard hat to his favorite jeans and T-shirt, or let him wear his Spiderman shirt and a pair of sweatpants. Let her wear her favourite dress, or even her jammies with the princesses on them. Add a pair of tights and a tiara and she’s all set to party! If all else fails, let her wear what she wants and give yourself a little talking-to. Halloween is supposed to be fun; let her enjoy the day in whatever she feels the most comfortable in.
- Preschool children pick up on the excited buzz in the air as Halloween approaches, but they can also become stressed from the bombardment of scary surroundings. Remember, they’re still trying to figure out the difference between fantasy and reality. Common fears for two- to three-year-olds revolve around unrealistic things such as monsters and witches. So when it comes to trick-or-treating, let your child take the lead. If she’s game to go outside, plan on leaving before dark and keep your route short.
- If you’ve planned to hook up with friends, let them know you may be cutting out early or not joining them at all. If your child wants nothing to do with going outside, have a fun movie and treat planned. Let him fill up the candy bowl and pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters at the door.
As your child develops and matures she will be more than willing to participate in Halloween. Before I knew it, my own timid trick-or-treater was destroying a perfectly good dance costume so she could go out as a dead cheerleader!
But for now, let your preschooler take the lead on just how much she wants to participate.