As Halloween approaches, door bells will ring and the sounds of small fists thumping on front doors will be rife in cities, town and villages throughout the land. Taking a lead from our American friends across the pond, Halloween has become increasingly popular in the UK and these days the chances of a myriad of little beasts at your door is relatively high. For many families, the traditional ‘Trick or Treat’ ramble through the neighbourhood provides opportunity for families to spend ‘quality’ time together and have some fun; for others, though, particularly the vulnerable the evening and those surrounding it can cause anxiety, panic and considerable distress.
For those caring for a vulnerable person there are things you can do to help minimise their discomfort.
Here’s a few ideas that may help:
Ensure they are not alone on the evenings/nights over the weekend.
Talk about the evenings and what may happen.
Explain that families are out and about having fun and may well knock on the door.
If the door knocking may cause anxiety, explain that it may happen but you will take care of it and it is nothing to worry about.
If you are happy to accept visitors, then make sure the home is ready.
Have sweets in a bowl and ensure there is an outside light so when you open the door you can see your spooky visitors to eliminate the fear.
If you are decorating the house, even if not and you intend to open the door, ensure that the doorways and hallways are free of clutter and potential trip hazards.
Keep pathways, hallways, porches well lit.
Make sure you can see your visitors from a window and check you are happy to answer the door to them before you do.
If visitors are going to cause distress pop a sign on the door explaining that you are ‘sorry, but no sweets this year, please don’t knock but have a fun evening’.
If your road is noisy and there is disturbance suggest you watch the TV and turn up the volume.
Be prepared, grab the family photo albums, or a puzzle, turn up the radio and distract in a room at the back of the house away from the front door.
If you are one of the merry gaggle parading your mini-beasts through your neighbourhood, spare a thought for those elderly and vulnerable for whom a knock on the door could cause fear and anguish. Perhaps it is wiser and kinder to only knock on the doors that are adorned in spooktacular decorations and so are obviously extending an invitation. If your children want to knock on the dark, quiet homes, explain to them that there is probably a very good reason the house does not look inviting and help them to understand.
Remember to be safe, whichever side of the door you are on this weekend - wear bright reflective clothing if you are on the roads/streets, stay clear of naked candles and keep your little ghouls on a tight leash, buy the sweets, talk about the evening with the vulnerable and reassure them.
Happy Halloween to you all!