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Haunted House Fun for Some, But Maybe Not the Very Young

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RALEIGH — Halloween is supposed to be a littlefrightening and a lot of fun and a haunted house may seem like the perfectway to celebrate. But, keep in mind that it may not be the best place forsmall kids.

Ghoulish, gory, and bloody images are standard fare for a hauntedhouse, but what happens when those things enter the minds of smallchildren? Child expert Dr. Bob Mankoff says it pays to find out.

When you bring children into such a place, Dr. Mankoff says they maythink it's real no matter how many times you tell them it's not.

That's why the Raleigh Jaycees holds a special haunted house just foryounger kids. Organizer Jim Baudreau says it's a lot different than whatolder kidssee.

In the end, experts say you're the best judge of what your kids canhandle.

Here are some tips from Dr. Mankoff for making sure a trip to thehaunted house is fun.

  • Check and see if there's an emergency exit, so that if your child getsreally scared, you can get out.
  • See how teenagers react often they're a good judge of what's tooscary for other kids.
  • Make sure the people outside the house know what's going on inside thehouse.
  • See how other small children react when they come out.
  • Consider going during the day instead of close to bedtime.
  • Photographer:GilHollingsworth

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