Halloween: For the Wee Ones
Halloween is a holiday for the ghouls and goblins in us all. Kids and adults alike gather together with tricks up their sleeves and candy bags. Tales of horror and ghosts ravish the streets and houses.
With all this talk of ghosts and witches the younger children can often be frightened. Most small children are afraid of the unknown. Halloween can be seen as a sum of many unknowns. What may be creeping behind that door? What is behind that mask? Is it a witch, a ghost or a goblin? Will they harm me? These are a few of a childís fears that they may not even be able to describe.
Explain the background on Halloween. A good place to get information is your local library. There are many books on Halloween and perhaps the history of Halloween. Here is a short list of some Halloween traditions, history and culture.
Halloween: Background Information
Origins of this holiday seem to stem from the Celtic people, a group of people that existed around 800 BC. Their culture existed in what is now Great Britain and much of West Europe. They held a celebration at the end of the year what is now our October named Samhain. This was a feast to recognize Summerís End which in their language Samhain means ďsummerís endĒ.
Some important customs were collecting food for their gods through door to door solicitation. Bonfires were lit and the food was sacrificed to the gods.
The Celts believed that the door between this world and the world of where you went after you died was more accessible at this time of year. One tradition was that ancestors came disguised as a black cat.
Halloween: Todayís Traditions
Halloween is celebrated in countries other than the United States. Britain has a celebration that has resemblance to the original Samhain. Mexico has a celebration called Los Dias de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. This celebration celebrates the ancestors that came before.
Candy is a major hit with kids on Halloween in the United States. There are more candy sales at this time of year than any other holiday.
There are many superstitions following Halloween and with them many rumors that just cannot be substantiated completely. Many religious organizations especially Christians hold Halloween to be an evil holiday where Satan and evil rules. But some have incorporated the holiday into the faith by celebrating the day after Halloween. All Saints Day, held on the day after Halloween, was incorporated to celebrate Saints and Sainthood.
Iím Not Afraid, Really Iím Not
There are a few other tricks you can use to help reduce stress and fear in your child at Halloween.
You are your childís best role model. If they see that you enjoy Halloween, it may put them at ease. If your child is old enough, let them help plan for Halloween. If they are going trick or treating, then let them choose their own costume.
Buy a mask and explain that a mask only hides a real person. Put on the mask and make sure they know that the mask is like hiding. Itís still you behind the mask. Then ask them if they want to try.
Most communities have Halloween functions that are kid friendly. Some firehouses or malls have festivals that a child can get safe candy and play with other kids that probably have the same fears as your child. Call your local newspapers or the local Chamber of Commerce to check if there are local activities.
Older siblings, friends and other family members can help take the pressure off. Have an older sibling explain that itís fun to go trick or treating and they will get lots of candy. Plus, they get to use their imagination and be whatever they want to dress up as.
If all still doesnít go well and the child doesnít feel comfortable going out to trick or treat then perhaps they can help pass out the candy to other trick or treaters. They can feel the safety of being in their own home.
Most times it just takes a few years to get used to the spookiness of Halloween to go away. They will eventually grow into the holiday. Theyíll be spooking the next door neighbors before you know it!