Outdoor Halloween decorations are getting scarier. Fake headstones, skeletons coming out of the ground, and huge, lifelike tarantulas are everywhere. Cute scarecrows, friendly ghosts, and even pumpkins are becoming scarce. I myself don’t find anything enticing about a sign, dripping blood, which reads “Yul B Next” or a roadside mailbox draped with a massive spider. However, a quick walk around the neighborhood shows not everyone feels as I do, and enjoy their ghoulish displays. This is as it should be, except when it concerns very young children, especially those aged 1 to 4. Young children are not developmentally capable of separating reality and fantasy; they aren’t able to distinguish between what is real and what just looks real. As much as he might want to, a two year old cannot be convinced that a fake spider which looks real is, in fact, fake. His brain has not developed to the point where he can make those distinctions. A trick-or-treater wearing a creepy mask can be truly frightening to a small child, and can precipitate nightmares and other symptoms of anxiety. Young children may need to be shielded from the more graphic parts of Halloween. In just a few years, they will be knocking on doors in a scary mask of their own choosing.