Happy Spook Month – October Blog Post

Halloween is a special time for parents and their children. Filled with trick or treat, costumes, and spooky situations, Halloween can be an important opportunity for parents and children to bond and discuss emotions. Jacqueline Wooley, Psychology Professor at The University of Texas at Austin, has researched the emotional effects of Halloween. Wooley states that Halloween is a chance for children to experience fear, surprise, and happiness, and she recommends that parents take advantage of the scary and/or fun moments that Halloween brings by talking about emotions and reality with their children. For example, if a child is frightened of a witch figurine while trick or treating, a parent can talk to the child about fear and what is real and make believe. Halloween is a fun way for parents to teach emotional competence to their children.


Jacqueline Wooley quotes, “It’s important for parents to remember that children do understand the distinction between fantasy and reality… So, if they do lose track of it, and get a little scared, all you have to do is remind them, just as adults might remind themselves that the scary movie they are watching isn’t real. Or you can just let them go—let them be scared within reason—because after all, sometimes it’s fun to be afraid on Halloween” (Salyer, 2015).


So this Halloween, when you put on your costume, head to a Halloween party, or carve a pumpkin, just take a moment to realize that your parents played a big role in making Halloween a fun and scary holiday. And when you run into someone dressed as a vampire, remember that you probably first learned that vampires were not real from your parents right around Halloween. Emotions have been found to play an important role in the understanding of reality and fantasy, and exciting, spooky Halloween may have influenced your response to fear today.
Salyer, K. (2015, October 29). Halloween can help kids learn what’s real. Time Magazine. Retrieved from: http://time.com/4090715/halloween-can-help-kids-learn-whats-real/