As fun as Halloween can be, it can also be a little frightening, especially for the little ones. My 4-year-old has always loved the holiday, but this year he's a little more hesitant than before. Just today he quizzed me about Halloween night: “Are there going to be spooky monsters lurking in our neighborhood? Are vampires real? What about ghosts?"

I want him to have all the fun of Halloween without the need for fear—so here are a few ways I'm ensuring the celebrations are spook-free.

1. Read boo-free books

Kids are such sponges. A great way to celebrate the days leading up to Halloween is to read books that aren't full of scary, mean creatures. A few of our favorite spook-free books include:

2. Host a trunk or treat party

Trick or treating can be a little worrisome for both parents and little ones. But trunk or treats are the perfect alternative! Invite some friends with kids to decorate their car trunks, meet in a nearby park and let the little ones go trick or treating in a safe, controlled area.

3. Watch kid-friendly Halloween movies

As a kid, the thing I dreaded the most about Halloween was a scary movie—but there are plenty of classics without any frights. (Which is fine by me. I'm still no fan of horror movies!)

Watch the movies ahead of time and use your judgment to determine what may be fine with your little one, but a few of our Halloween-inspired movie nights have included:

4. Make cute critter crafts

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Halloween crafts are a great way to celebrate the season. Get the whole family in on it and you can have a designated Halloween crafting night. Check out my list of 50 fall crafts for toddlers + preschoolers for some inspiration!

5. Throw a scare-free Halloween party

Mickey manages to throw a not-so-scary party every year and you can too! Invite some of your little one's friends over for a costume party, complete with bobbing for apples, sweet treats and fun effects like a witch's cauldron with dry ice.

This is also a great time to do my little guy's favorite Halloween activity, a slimy noodle box: I boil a bunch of spaghetti noodles, put it in an aluminum foil-lined box and hide surprises in it like fake eyeballs and spiders from the Halloween store. This is fun, messy and totally kid-approved!

6. Bake Halloween treats

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One of my favorite things to do with any holiday is to make treats—and Halloween is certainly no exception. Whether it's hotdogs wrapped in crescent rolls to replicate a mummy, caramel apples or popcorn balls, baking and making treats with my little guy is something I greatly cherish.

Happy fright-free Halloween! 🎃


Raising a mentally strong kid doesn't mean he won't cry when he's sad or that he won't fail sometimes. Mental strength won't make your child immune to hardship—but it also won't cause him to suppress his emotions.

In fact, it's quite the opposite. Mental strength is what helps kids bounce back from setbacks. It gives them the strength to keep going, even when they're plagued with self-doubt. A strong mental muscle is the key to helping kids reach their greatest potential in life.

But raising a mentally strong kid requires parents to avoid the common yet unhealthy parenting practices that rob kids of mental strength. In my book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do, I identify 13 things to avoid if you want to raise a mentally strong kid equipped to tackle life's toughest challenges:

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