Five Tips For Planning Your Child's First Haunted House Visit

A haunted house can be an entertaining evening for the whole family, although there will be some things to prepare for if you are taking elementary-aged kids to the event. The following tips can help you choose the right house and have a fun night, so that the scare are fun and thrilling instead of overly frightening.

Tip #1: Check the age ratings

Most event promoters set an age range for which their haunted house is suitable. Many follow the same rating standards as those used for movies, so you may see haunted house events rated as PG-13 or even R. For your child's first haunted house, choose one that is rated appropriate to their age. You can then judge from their reactions whether or not they are ready for a scarier event. In most cases, this will mean looking for a PG-rated event.

Tip #2: Look for daytime events

Many professional haunted houses offer daytime events that are actually a scaled down, more family-friendly of their main event. These are more likely to fall into the PG rating. As an added benefit, your child is more likely to feel the fun and let the fear go when they emerge into a cheerful sunlit day rather than into the dark night.

Tip #3: Ask about the type of fear factor

Most quality haunted houses have a theme, whether it's the standard scary mansion, zombie apocalypse, or the haunted psych ward, for example. Check to see what the theme is for the house you are considering, and then call and ask about the type of scare tactics used. Some parents may prefer to skip gory houses, for example, and instead opt for one with more jump scares or ghost-like acts.

Tip #4: Have an exit strategy

If a haunted house proves to be too frightening for your child, then don't make them stick with it until the end. Find out ahead of time what the early exit strategies are for your chosen event. Most haunted houses have clearly marked exit signs throughout. They may also provide guests with an "exit word" that you can say to any staff member or actor if you need the scares to stop so you can escort your child out.

Tip #5: Schedule something lighthearted afterward

Even kids with a firm grip on reality that loved the scares at the haunted house may suffer a bit of imagination overload afterward. You can diffuse this by doing something a little lighter before heading home. Go out for pizza or ice cream, or stop by an arcade or bowling alley for a game or two. This will help your child wind down from the haunted house so there are less chances of nightmares later.

Call a haunted house in your area to plan your family's visit.