Parents: If trick-or-treating scares your children, don't force it

Fear can be a thrilling sensation for some kids, especially on Halloween, but parents should not push unwilling children into fear-inducing situations such as trick-or-treating, says Dr. Peter Stavinoha, a neuropsychiatrist at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“We might think they will have fun, or we might remember having fun ourselves as children; however, it can be detrimental to a child to be placed unnecessarily in a fear situation,” he says. “The child may not have that basic level of trust that everything will be OK. This might seem irrational to adults, but it can quickly turn into a true panic situation for a child.”

If a child is scared to go trick-or-treating, Dr. Stavinoha recommends the following:

  • A parent should offer to tag along.
  • Go trick-or-treating before dark and carry a flashlight.
  • Plan alternative activities, such as movie night at home or a Halloween party.

Above all, don’t force the issue. “If a child fears trick-or-treating, that is really not a big deal,” Dr. Stavinoha says.

Media Contact: LaKisha Ladson

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