Avoiding Fright-Night Fears

"Boo!" You've just jumped out of a closet to surprise your 8-year-old for a little Halloween fun, but instead of a screaming with laughter, he dissolves into tears. EEEEEEKKK!

The surprises and spooky images of Halloween may be fun for some kids, but parents need to be in touch with their child's threshold for scary subject matter to avoid anxiety and tears. "There is no 'one size fits all' rule.... The best rule of thumb is simply to decide whether your child has reasoning skills and the ability to separate fact from fiction fairly routinely," says Irm Bellavia, a board-certified child psychiatrist in Charlotte.

Difficulties sleeping, changes in emotion and separation anxiety are some of the signs that kids might be upset by the things they are seeing during the Halloween season, says Bellavia. Fear of the dark, an emergence of new fears and temporary regression, like thumb sucking and bed wetting, also can indicate a fear factor.

Read more in Charlotte Parent magazine...