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The Appropriate Age to Take Kids to a Haunted House

Sep 25th 2018

So your child has expressed an interest in a haunted house for the first time. How do you know if they're ready? Unfortunately, there's no set age for most haunted attractions, as all children are different and have varying levels of maturity. Some attractions are rated PG-13, but they will let younger children in with a parent. For the most part, it’s up to the parents’ discretion whether or not a child is ready to visit haunted house attraction. You don’t want your child to miss out on the wonder and fun of Halloween, but you also don’t want to genuinely frighten him or her. Consider the helpful tips below when making your decision.

Do Some Research

Choose a few different options and look into each one in more detail. No two haunted attractions are exactly alike. Look for guidelines on their website, social media, or on flyers. If the haunted attraction is a temporary businesses or non-profit organizations, you may have to call for information. Ask if they would recommend their attraction for a child the same age as yours, and if not, what other options in the area might be better.

Gather Opinions

Talk to other parents or relatives who have children of a similar age. Ask about their experiences and if they would recommend a certain haunted house for your child over another. If the attraction has a social media page, see if other parents left reviews that might be helpful in your search.

Assess Your Child's Ability to Handle Haunted Houses

Determine how much your son or daughter distinguishes between what is fake and what is real. It’s important that kids know the difference between real fear and fun fear before going to haunted houses or attractions. Also ask yourself, how do they handle age-appropriate scary movies? What types of Halloween costumes do they usually gravitate towards? These things can give you clues about their tolerance to being spooked.

Consider Health Risks of Each Attraction

Keep in mind that most haunted houses and attractions feature strobe lights and fog machines. If you’re not sure if you or your child will handle those well, be prepared to exit immediately if need be. If you know ahead of time that someone in your group can’t be around strobe lights or fog machines, opt for an event that doesn’t include these devices, or call ahead so you know exactly they will be triggered. Fortunately, many haunted attractions will include at least one house without strobe lights or fog machines for those that are a little more sensitive to them.

"No Touching" Signs

Almost every haunted house and attraction forbids touching from both parties. Don’t touch the actors; they won’t touch you. However, there are SOME attractions where the actors will grab you or touch your hair. This can be quite scary for kids, especially first-timers. When you approach an attraction, look for the “No Touching” sign. They’re usually easy to find.

Familiarize Yourself with the Haunted House or Maze

See if you can request a daytime walk-through of the house prior to the big night. Make sure you know where the exits are, and find out what to expect as you walk through. Let your child know they will always be safe in the haunted house, but that they can choose to leave at any time.

Have a Backup Plan

If you determine that a traditional haunted house might be too scary for your child at their age, there’s still hope. Many haunted houses will have a “kids night” where they hold off on the scaring parts and keep the lights on. If you can't find one in your area, set up your own haunted house at home! This might be a good way to prep your child for attractions in the future.

The Appropriate Age to Take Kids to a Haunted House

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