Halloween -- Fun or fright for young children?
Tuesday, October 18, 2011 9:00 AM

The scripts are available for printing and for sound bite identification. If you have additional questions for Susan Unruh after listening to the WSU Newsline, please contact her at (316) 978-5181 or susan.unruh@wichita.edu.

Halloween is fun for a lot of people, but for some young children it can be terrifying. Wichita State school psychologist trainer Susan Unruh offers some tips for making Halloween a fun experience.

Voice wrap:
Announcer: Halloween may sound like fun with costumes, candy, and bobbing for apples, but it also can be scary for young children. Wichita State University school psychologist trainer Susan Unruh encourages parents to make Halloween a magical time.

Unruh: "Halloween, I think overall, is a very magical time for children. Children love it. And regardless of what you do, you will be making memories with your child so make sure you make good memories and let them be as involved as possible with what you do. But remember that there are other aspects, such as safety, that we have to think about."

Announcer: If you're doing activities with young children during Halloween, Unruh advises steering clear of haunted houses and scary movies because it's not developmentally appropriate. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.

Sound bite #1
Unruh offers some safety tips for parents with young children. The sound bite is 21 seconds and the outcue is "before they eat it."

Unruh: "Here are some safety tips. When you take your children out trick or treating, and of course you're going to be with them at all times, make sure that you're close to them and don't let them out of your sight. If you have to walk down streets without sidewalks, make sure everyone wears something fluorescent or shiny. And then check over what they have in their trick or treat bag before they eat it."

Sound bite #2
Unruh says we shouldn't be surprised that skeleton and ghost costumes are scary to young children. The sound bite is 27 seconds and the outcue is "scary skeleton."

Unruh: "You know, for young children, say 4 to 8 years old, we want them to believe in magic, such as Santa and the tooth fairy, so we shouldn't be really surprised if they get scared by skeletons and ghosts and goblins. I would say let them help choose a costume that's not going to be scary to them, and then if you choose their costume, let them be Superman or a cowgirl and not the scary skeleton."

Sound bite #3
Unruh said parents should limit the amount of Halloween candy their children eat. The sound bite is 27 seconds and the outcue is "after that."

Unruh: "Well, I'm so glad that the First Lady has taken up the cause of keeping our children healthy. You know some children can't control (themselves); they have a medical condition and they can't control the obesity. But most of our kids, you know, don't exercise enough. They eat too much fast food, and so you want to be careful when they bring home their bag of candy. You've got to limit how much that they will eat the first night and then after that."

Sound bite #4
Unruh advises parents of young children to steer clear of haunted houses and scary movies. The sound bite is 22 seconds and the outcue is "kinds of experiences."

Unruh: "If you're doing things with your children, and do as much as you can with them, steer clear of the haunted houses and scary movies, especially for our young children. It's just not developmentally appropriate, and you can end up with a situation where your child is going to not want to go to bed by themselves. So, just steer clear of those kinds of experiences."

Sound bite #5
Unruh reminds parents that they will be making memories with their children during Halloween. The sound bite is 13 seconds and the outcue is "make it safe."

Unruh: "And remember, overall you are going to be making memories. Make them magical, fun memories. Let your child spend as much time as possible with you, and make it safe."

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Contact: Susan Unruh, (316) 978-5181 or susan.unruh@wichita.edu.