Babies experience stranger anxiety more at Halloween.
Although adults enjoy the macabre and outlandish costumes that are not only acceptable but encouraged during Halloween, babies are likely to be very scared of the unusual sights and sounds that are a part of the costumes and spectacle of the holiday. Stranger anxiety is a normal survival instinct in babies and young children. Strangers who look very unusual can dramatically increase that anxiety. Exposure is not the best resolution. Rather than desensitizing baby, it can actually traumatize your child. Instead, consider alternatives.
Un-Mask for baby.
Babies relate to people through their faces. When a baby looks at a mask and cannot make eye contact and cannot see a smile she has no social cues with which to reassure herself. It can be very frightening. Infants do not understand the concept of costumes and have no way of knowing that there is a person behind the mask. If your infant is particularly scared around strangers, it is best to avoid costumes with masks for yourself and equally important to keep masked strangers from getting too close to your child.
Party instead of trick-or-treating.
Even simpler, of course, is to keep your baby away from the front door during trick or treating time and to avoid all Halloween parties when she is very young. However, these options may not sound very attractive. Another possibility is to throw your own Halloween party where you can request no masked costumes and where you can control the noise level. Strange, loud noises can frighten infants. Sound is stimulating for babies and the louder the sound the more overwhelming it will be.
Find kid-friendly houses.
If you have both an older child who is eager to participate in trick or treating and an infant, you do have a couple of options. Either you can leave your infant at home with another adult who can keep your baby happily occupied and away from the festivities, or you can carry your infant with you in your arms while visiting only well-lit, kid-friendly houses that don’t have scary decorations.