If you and your spouse miss the ability to head to a haunted trail or haunted house without giving a thought to the potential for mature content because of your kids, you may find that your Halloween activities seem limited to those of the G or PG variety now that you have young kids. However, not all haunted houses are created equally, and introducing your child to the tamer side of haunted houses at a relatively early age may foster a shared family love of this spooky season. Read on to learn more about some factors that can help you determine your child's readiness to handle a haunted house, as well as what you'll want to look for when seeking a family-friendly haunted house experience.
How can you tell whether your child is ready for a haunted house?
Even if your child vocally expresses his or her desire to go to a haunted house, you'll have to balance these stated wishes with your child's general behavior around people, noises, and situations that can be deemed scary. If he or she tends to startle easily at loud noises or have nightmares after seeing certain more mature cartoons, it's likely that all but the tamest haunted houses may be a bad idea.
If your child is ambivalent about a haunted house, you'll want to remind him or her that these haunted houses are only for fun -- there are usually multiple exits located in each haunted house, allowing you and your child to vacate quickly (without passing through the rest of the house) if it does turn out to be too scary. For some older children, knowing that the participants are actors who are legally prohibited from physically touching any guests passing through can also provide a sense of relief.
What should you keep in mind when looking for family-friendly haunted attractions during Halloween season?
You'll want to start by looking at some of the activities advertised by your local parks and recreation department or other youth-centered clubs -- a haunted trail sponsored by your local boys and girls club is far more likely to be child-friendly and offer activities for a variety of ages and maturity levels while still keeping the scariest content under wraps.
If you're unsure whether a particular haunted house or trail is too scary, you should be able to inquire about the "rating" of content and any minimum ages for guests by visiting the website or contacting the sponsor through its social media page.