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Spooky Spells and Age-appropriate Haunts for Your Child

When ghosts and goblins come out to haunt, does your child run and hide? Or does she confront the Halloween character and say, “BOO!”?

It can be a tough concept for little ones to determine the difference between fantasy and reality. While it is fun for some kids to get scared on purpose, others have a total meltdown. Educators say it’s important for parents to not push their child into something they’re not ready for.

“As parents, you know your child best,” says Susan Michal, director of early childhood at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. “Does your child scare easily and have a hesitancy with new experiences? Does your child love to play hide and seek, and is not fearful around characters in costumes? Depending on your child’s comfort level, there are many other festive choices to participate with your child during the season. Be on the lookout for experiences you can review ahead of time with your child. Walk them through where the event is and what they can expect to happen while there.”

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis offers a fun way to ease your kids into a fun yet frightening experience. The Guild’s annual Haunted House provides IPL’s Lights-On Hours for children who scare easily.

Our Head Witches, Jenn Sutton and Katie Pastorino, encourage parents to bring younger children to IPL’s Lights-On hours. “We promise, no tricks — only treats — from the friendly witches at the Hotel of Spells during Lights-On hours!” they say. “Our trick-or-treat experience is a fa-BOO-lous way to get your little ghosts and goblins excited for Halloween! The Guild witches dress in friendly costumes (no masks or make-up). We encourage families to look around with lights on, touch and listen to fun and festive music in every room and dress up in their favorite costumes. Strollers are welcome, too.”

This year’s theme is Hotel of Spells, and it is open October 11-31.

Parents can also ease their little ones into Halloween activities like the Black Hat Bash, presented by AAA Insurance (October 5 from 6:30 – 9:30pm). It’s a family-friendly party with music, food, drinks, games and activities. You can dress up and point to other characters in costume and explain the difference between real and pretend.

The inaugural Track and Treat will be held on opening weekend of the Haunted House (October 12 from 8:30 – 10:30am). Families are invited to trick-or-treat throughout the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience®. The event will also include relay races, sports challenges for prizes, food stations and a ticket to the Haunted House.

Sometimes a meal at which they can meet friendly witches helps tots get ready for a walk through of a family-friendly haunted house. The Children’s Museum has a couple of those: Saturday, October 19 at 8:30am or lunch Saturday, October 13, 20, or 27 at 11:00am.

Those brave little souls who are ready to try something a little more daring are always welcome to visit the Hotel of Spells during the CENTURY 21 SCHEETZ Frightening Hours (with the lights off, for families who dare to be scared).

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