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Don’t forget to stock up on anti-monster spray during the spooky season

After a young child watches a scary movie or is frightened by a Halloween costume, parents should reach for a can of antimonster spray before bedtime, according to Theresa Kruczek, counseling psychology professor at Ball State University.

“Preschool children and those in early elementary school, often have a difficult time with Halloween,” said Kruczek. “Children this age often struggle with separating fantasy from reality and as a result, they may get confused and think the scary elements of Halloween are real.”

After a frightening experience, children may have nightmares. Youth can’t share too much about the dream, but parents can take some precautions to ward off those dreams, by using a can of air freshener, otherwise known as “anti-monster spray,” to keep monsters at bay.

“Monsters don’t like nice-smelling stuff,” said Kruczek.

Parents are also advised to do the following: • Limit preschoolers to 30 minutes or less of activities, including Trick-or-Treating, and only during daylight hours.

• Ask friends and strangers to take off masks to show children there really is a person under the costume.

• Parents and siblings should never wear masks around youngsters afraid of such items.

• In families with children of varying age ranges, allow each youngster to participate in age-appropriate activities.

• Avoid haunted houses, unless the facility offers age-appropriate activities.

“Just because you love haunted houses, doesn’t mean your four year old will,” said Kruczek. “Parents are in the best position to know what frightens their child and to help them cope with Halloween. If kids freak out during a scary movie, they’ll freak out at a haunted house, or when someone in a scary outfit comes by.”