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For Kids Who Get The Jitters On Halloween, 'Set The Spookymeter'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- If your children are intimidated by the ghouls and ghosts of Halloween, a child psychologist says there are ways to help young people lessen their anxiety.

Most kids love Halloween, but others need to warm up to all the frights, if they do at all.

Dr. Rebecca Nelson, a clinical psychologist at Evanston Hospital, said a great way to ease children into trick-or-treating, or to parties, or to spook houses is to let them know what to expect.

"You can sort of, what I say, set the spookymeter, in terms of expectations. Call ahead. If they're going to a party, call ahead, ask other parents what's going to happen," she said. "You want to give them some choices, and activities, and plans; and you want to give them the sense of normalizing – that it's okay to have feelings of anxiety, it's okay to be a little fearful."

Nelson offered another good way to give younger children an idea what to expect.

"For young children, a great way to start off Halloween is to have them pass out candy from home," she said.

Little kids aren't alone in suffering feelings of angst during Halloween.

"Teenagers get scared too. You can let them know you will always pick them up if they start getting anxious; no matter what time of day, what time of night," Nelson said.

For kids who don't take to Halloween at all, Nelson said parent's shouldn't push it.


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