Halloween – a time to dress up, watch scary movies, enjoy carving pumpkins, tell ghostly stories and much more. Now, I have to be honest – I’ve never been a particularly big fan of Halloween. When I was small our parents were encouraged, by our school, to ban Trick or Treating. They (quite rightly at the time) pointed out that it was scaring older residents of our estates, so for most of my childhood Halloween past us by. However, when the children came home we began to realise how much fun we could have with them and really threw ourselves into it!
We loved Halloween last year! We were invited to small fancy dress party, so Little Miss dressed up as a witch and Little Sir went as a zombie pilot and they loved it. They played games with spooky pumpkin balloons and it was lovely. I had been a little concerned that they would find it all a little frightening, but they didn’t seem fussed!
Fast forward a year – oh how things have changed. Little Sir has developed quite an imagination over the past year and this has been causing him to have some quite intense nightmares about monsters and ghosts and things that go bump in the night. I didn’t think too much about it, or really even consider how Halloween might affect him, until he watched a Paw Patrol episode about a ghost. Oh my goodness, what a disturbed night we had – he refused to go into the bathroom on his own, wouldn’t let me flush the toilet because the noise was scaring him, and insisted on sleeping with his nightlight turned up high to scare away the shadows. Poor little man!
So we sat down and made a conscious decision that, this year, we would avoid Halloween! We wouldn’t watch any programmes with a Halloween theme, wouldn’t read any slightly scary books, wouldn’t dress up and would basically pretend it doesn’t exist. Now how hard can that be?
Well, nigh on impossible! We are confronted by Halloween, no matter where we go! Food shopping? Halloween costumes! Library visits? Halloween displays! Going to a bakery? Halloween cupcakes! Visiting a farm? Halloween themed activities! It’s literally everywhere! I was in despair that Little Sir would become more and more distressed and have more and more nightmares. Thankfully I was wrong!
It turns out that, as long as our house is free of Halloween themed decorations, and as long as we don’t watch programmes about ghosts just before bed, then actually Little Sir is enjoying the festivities! He loved picking a pumpkin at our local farm, and watching me struggle to carve it with a regular knife. (I’d like to point out this is almost impossible!). He’s also loved making a bat at Nursery and decorating cakes at home.
I am so aware that I can be super sensitive to the children’s needs and their worries and upsets. But this year I have learnt that I need to let go a little, and as long as I’m there with hugs, cuddles and reassurance when things get a little scary, then everything is going to be OK!
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