Halloween: Fear

Health Watch is a Public Service of the University News Bureau and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.



This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about keeping the wrong kind of scares out of Halloween. A big part of Halloween fun is enjoying a little fright. For some children, though, being afraid isn’t fun, even when the scares are safe.

Some kids enjoy scary movies and haunted houses, while other children may find child-sized goblins on the doorstep frightening. Dr. Peter Stavinoha, a pediatric neuropsychiatrist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says parents shouldn’t force children into potentially scary situations. While adults and many children know that they’re not really in danger from haunted houses or scary costumes, some children may not be sure that things really will be OK. If a child is afraid of trick-or-treating, parents can try going before dark and staying close to the child. If even that is too much, find an alternative activity, like watching a movie at home or going to a Halloween party.

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October 2011

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