By Anne A. McGrady
Your young Tot has been going through a period in their life where he/she has begun to feel a security with home and family. Tot has developed a trust and the knowledge of the world around him/her. Tot knows what friends look like and how one must act when a friend comes over to play.
Along with this development of trust, the child trusts you, the parents, and he/she knows that you would not do anything to harm her. The child has learned that you as a parent will protect him/her and has come to believe in you completely. Then all of a sudden a day comes along called “HALLOWEEN.” This secure world changes, people’s faces she/he once knew change, these people come over to the house for a different reason, these people can act and behave in strange ways, the houses have changed and now have scary things all over and so do the stores in town.
Tots need some special care at this time. It is important to very slowly and calmly explain to the Tot that Halloween is a day that people “dress up” – it’s dress up day – and on this day people PRETEND to be somebody else. Tots and adults put on masks, paint their faces, act in strange ways, and wear funny faces. This is a day people have lots of fun trying to fool their friends by being somebody else.
Take plenty of time to explain all the decorations and begin slowing to decorate your home. Keep in mind the decorations you use, for young Tots and sensitive Tots – should be friendly, cheerful decorations such as smiling Jack-O-Lanterns and ghosts.
Remember that on Halloween your Tot may not be ready, may not wish to put on a costume or have their faces made up. She/he really may be scared. PLEASE don’t push Tot. It may take a few years for Tot to costume up and enjoy trick or treating. The best thing you can do for Tot is to understand feelings and say “I know the masks are scary to you, they are just pretend.” Have a backup activity you and your Tot can enjoy to celebrate Halloween.
GREAT HALLOWEEN READS:
10 Little Pumpkins, Stacy Peterson, PI Publications, 2011, 3-6 years
(Record a story – your voice reads the keepsake book of the adventures of 10 little pumpkins)
10 Little Beasties, Reherra Emberley, A New Porter Book, 2011, 3-6 years
(One by one ten little monsters appear and then disappear from the page, colorful, fun adventure.
Little Gobblins Ten, Pamela Jans, Harper Collins, 2011, 3-7 years
(Ghouls, goblins, ghosts, witches, and other scary creatures roam through the forest on Halloween, introducing numbers from one through 10.)