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31st Oct 2023

Six tips that may help soothe your child tonight if they’re afraid of fireworks

Jody Coffey

Halloween may be known as the ‘spooky season’ but no parent wants their child to actually feel fear.

However, on this occasion fireworks are likely to be set off, which can cause anxiety not only for animals but for some children too.

The loud and unexpected sound, along with the bright lights in the dark sky, makes it by no means an irrational fear.

In fact, it’s very understandable for a small child to be spooked by the spectacle or experience sensory overload.

If your little one has fears around loud noises, it can spoil their fun, but hopefully some of the below tips will help to soothe them.

Consider staying at home or heading out early 

If you suspect or know your child is vulnerable to loud sounds, it may be best to curl up at home and watch a movie instead, especially if they are under the age of five.

If they’re determined to fill their trick-or-treating bucket with sweets, a better alternative may be to head out early before the sun sets, as it is more typical for fireworks to be set off in the darkness.

If your child just does not want to go, don’t force them. A fear of loud noises, also known as ligyrophobia, is just as valid as any other phobia – even more so when the sounds are happening when it’s dark at night.

Just because society says trick-or-treating is a Halloween activity, it doesn’t have to be. Halloween parties, movies, competitions, and so on can all bring nice spooky vibes to your kids without upsetting them.

Give them the facts

Perhaps your child is still pushing to experience Halloween in all its glory, which is totally understandable.

If this is the case, it’s better to explain in detail what they can expect. This can be done either through a talk, showing videos of fireworks being set off, or explaining that there are no immediate dangers, but it may be loud.

Preparing for it can help lessen the anxiety around it.

Creating a calm setting

If your child developed their fear or anxiety around fireworks from seeing someone in the household exhibit it, perhaps it’s best to consider having them head out with a trusted friend or family member who can remain relaxed when they’re let off.

Children absorb everything, which sadly, includes our fears – but thankfully, also includes our calmness.

Have an exit strategy 

Your child is adamant. They know the facts and are promising they won’t be scared, and they want to go. This is admirable and deserves recognition.

However, choosing a quick exit spot in the event of things going haywire will help you get your child out of the anxiety-inducing scenario and avoid any escalations.

Familiar and friendly surroundings 

Stick to what they know. Trek around the neighbourhood you live in for treats rather than visiting a new location for the occasion. This will reinforce the notion that they are not in danger and will heighten the chances of bumping into kids they know.

If you live remotely, perhaps consider grouping up with friends or family you know they trust and feel safe with.

Use your arsenal 

Don’t try to be a hero. Utilise their favourite teddy or blanket if you know it comforts them. Tie it to their costume or hold it close. We know all too well as adults that sometimes just having a bit of familiarity with you can bring you down to earth in times of anxiety.

You should also consider bringing headphones or earplugs; this will lessen the greatness of the bang when a firework is lit nearby.