Halloween Can Be Too Spooky if You're Two!
Written by: Sara Sladoje
Halloween can be, well spooky for little ones aged 12-36 months. Do not be surprised if your baby pumpkin seemed very calm celebrating at 9 months and 1 year later wants nothing to do with tricks or treats. It is common for children in this age range to be nervous about the strange costumes and unfamiliar appearances of those around them for Halloween. They do not yet have the ability to know that under that costume is their friendly neighbor or even their own big brother. So just be prepared to take it easy at this age, expect to take a costume or mask off and don't worry - your little one is not a permanent scaredy cat - just a typical toddler.
Tips for a more secure less spooky celebration:
1) Let your little one get familiar with his costume; let them play with it ahead of time.
2) On Halloween day or day of Halloween festivities, explain in simple terms what will be happening. From a child’s perspective, to all of a sudden show up somewhere and see people walking around looking crazy can be frightening! Tell your child ahead of time that people will be wearing funny clothes, makeup, hats, etc., and that they are doing it to be silly and have fun. This will help them mentally prepare and lessen the shock.
3) Practice the doorbell routine if trick or treating yourselves and/or explain people will be coming to door to ask for candy and they might look silly /different but it is just for tonight and it is a fun “game” that people play on this day. Remember, at this age, toddlers have difficulty distinguishing what is pretend and what is real so even with preparation – there still might be some anxiety around costumes even when people take them on and off. For a toddler the person is simply going back and forth between a “real witch” and “Mrs. Jones”. They cannot connect the two as the same person.
4) Most importantly, respect your child’s fears or anxiety. If the hoopla/costumes are too much, take them off and go inside/leave for some quiet time – you will both be much happier than if you try to push something their brain literally does not understand yet. There are lots more Halloweens down the road! Again, it is not a reflection on your child’s character – just a reflection of their age.
Happy Halloween! Enjoy it; however it works out for you and your toddler!