We have a rule in our home regarding Halloween costumes. My boys have always wanted to dress up as some sort of monster for Halloween. They’ve each seen their friends dress up as something grim and have been asking year after year to have the same costume or mask. My rule has been the same each year: If you want to wear it, then you have to watch the movie associated with that costume alone and at nighttime.
I know. I’m so bad.
Since I know my kids like the back of my own hand, this is one game I know I will always win. They have never wanted to watch a scary movie. Ever. My 15-year-old doesn’t even dress up anymore, so all I have left is my 8-year-old to deal with. I tried explaining to them that Halloween is just a fun, practical joke. All the gory details are special effects and the work of really good makeup artists. This is why I love going to Disneyland for Mickey’s Halloween Party. It took me years to convince my little ones that the Haunted Mansion wasn’t a scary ride, but when the park converted it to Haunted Mansion Holiday for the Halloween and Christmas season, my kids were able to see that Halloween can be fun.
Halloween is almost here, and if you’re planning a trip to Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World, then you need to be prepared to comfort little ones who can’t quite grasp the fun side of Halloween. Here 10 ways to make Halloween not so scary for young kids:
Scared of Halloween? 1 of 11
We had a hard time convincing the kids that Halloween was not scary! Take a look at 10 ways to make Halloween not so scary for young kids!
A trip to the costume store 2 of 11
I remember the first time I took my youngest son to the costume store. It was the funniest thing. He saw all the scary props, masks, and costumes and was expecting something to move or jump out at him, but obviously nothing did. That's how scared he was! But at the store, he was able to see and explore the masks and understand that they were hollow inside. I didn't put on any masks or anything that will frighten him; instead, we walked around, looked, and touched. Little by little, he was holding the yuckiest props on his own without being afraid!
Create your own pumpkins! 3 of 11
Pumpkin carving is always a lot of fun! It's also a great time to talk with your kids about Halloween. There are plenty of non-scary pumpkin stencils for you to choose from. You can't go wrong with these Disney pumpkin stencils from Spoonful!
Keep it simple 4 of 11
In all honesty, Halloween can be a fun and simple holiday. If you know for a fact that there's a haunted house attraction on your block with loud music and lightning, you don't need to trick or treat there. Period. Mickey's Halloween party at Disneyland and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World are the perfect alternatives for trick or treating around your neighborhood.
Villains playing nice 5 of 11
Believe it or not, the villains at Disneyland, when seeing a child that is scared to approach them, turn to nice villains. Now, I'm talking about the live villains that talk; this doesn't include Jafar, Captain Hook, or any other character that has a mask and cannot speak. Last week when I attended Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland, I saw the Evil Queen bend down to talk to a little one. It was the sweetest thing. OMG, please don't tell her I said this!!!
Tame older siblings 6 of 11
As the kids get older, I've had to warn my oldest about scaring his younger siblings when it came to the subject of Halloween. Sometimes, older siblings add more wood to the scary fire than needed, if you know what I mean.
What’s in the name? 7 of 11
If you don't participate in the holiday, that's okay! I know some parents that call Halloween "Harvest time" instead. My friend Rolondo of Redefining Dad says that calling it Harvest and participating in non-scary activities makes it easier to explain the holiday to his daughter. This is simple and to the point. There's no need to elaborate when it comes to talking with young children. Even more so when they're not exposed to the scary side of Halloween.
Dressing up is fun! 8 of 11
If your kids have a favorite movie and have expressed interest in dressing up as one of the characters of the movie, give them the option to look for the costume themselves! They'll be able to see that many other kids are dressed up, too!
Can’t be afraid of what’s not real! 9 of 11
This was key in explaining Halloween to my kids. It's just not real. It's not scary. It's all fake! This works like a charm with kids who need to see for themselves in order to believe! My friend Wendy from Over the Top Mommy is a first grade teacher and makes it a point to tell her students that Halloween is a fun event. She showed her students images of bats eating fruit and not drinking blood from a human! Love!
Silly costumes 10 of 11
There are plenty of silly and funny costumes you can check out at your local stores and online. Fight any fear of Halloween with laughter and smiles. In no time, your kids will be happy and fear-free on October 31.
Until next year? 11 of 11
If your kids are not ready for Halloween this year, that's okay! Many kids at school don't dress up, and many schools don't even call the parties they have on the 31st "Halloween" parties. Kids change from one year to another. My kids did, and I'm sure yours will, too!
Don’t miss Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland during Halloween Time! This awesome event happens on select dates throughout October. Some days are already sold out, so you don’t want to miss any of the spooky fun!