Oh Halloween… Love it or hate it, October is just about here. Every store has their Halloween decorations and candy in full view.
But what about the kids who are terrified of these things?
This is my kid. It is a struggle to go out shopping for necessities at times without running into displays of ghosts, skeletons, vampires, grim reapers and the like.
It’s hard. It’s hard to redirect my child who thinks these things are real, terrifying, and coming to get him.
Changing his state of my mind when we encounter these things is sometimes so difficult. I have been known to abandon a cart full of items in order to remove my son from a store.
For all you mamas who have kiddos that are terrified this time of year, here’s some issues we have dealt with and how we have managed them.
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Explain how the things they are seeing aren’t real
This is a hard one, but for my son at least, is very important. I feel like for him, the blow up decorations are the worst because they are so large and you can see them all around a store depending on the size.
He’s very black and white. I have gone up to one and shown him where the air is being pumped in and then explained how its not real and just a decoration.
It does help. But he does tell me that even though he knows its not real, it’s still scary looking and he can’t stop thinking about it.
God is the biggest
We love VeggieTales around here. Like a lot. It’s one of my kid’s favorite shows. In the very first show they put out, Where’s God When I’m S-Scared, Junior Asparagus is afraid after watching a scary movie on tv.
When Bob and Larry show up to help him, they sing the song God is Bigger. In the song, they sing “God is bigger than the boogeyman. He’s bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on TV. Oh God is bigger than the boogeyman, and He’s watchin’ out for you and me!”
So when we are afraid while or after seeing these Halloween decorations, out comes the song. My 4 year old will even start singing it on his own when we’re in a store and encounter these displays.
We’ve had some plumbing issues recently and I offered to run to the hardware store for my husband so that he could come straight home and try to work on it. I packed up the kids and headed out. We got little brother in the basket and big brother said he wanted to walk.
As soon as we walk into the store, there is a giant blow up grim reaper with flashing eyes. Cue the terror. Unfortunately, we desperately needed these supplies so we rushed on, talking about how its not real.
On our way to the plumbing area, we ran into a giant display of everything scary Halloween. Cue the tears. Ugh…
We made it out of the store without any more run-ins, but it stayed with him for a couple of days. That evening before bed, we had to have a long prayer, a long pep talk, and a ton of reassurance that God was bigger and all the stuff he saw at the store wasn’t real and was not coming to get him in his room.
Every time we have a run in at a store, I just add it to my mental list of stores to avoid at all costs with my kids until Halloween is over. Inevitably, we can’t live under a rock during the Halloween season.
But we can prepare our son every time we go out and pray that he can slowly understand he doesn’t have to be afraid. We are trying to memorize Psalm 56:3 “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.”
What do you do for your kids that are afraid during Halloween? What coping mechanisms work best for them?