Until children are old enough (about six years old) and mature enough to distinguish between make-believe and reality, they should not be told frightening stories. Young children take all of the words that adults say literally. If they are told that there are ghosts and goblins that will “get” them, they believe it to be fact.
Keeping the fact that young children take everything literally in mind, there are dozens of activities that can be enjoyed by young children. You’ll find HUNDREDS of sites on the Internet where you can download pictures of pumpkins, Jack o’ Lanterns, black cats, and bats for young children to color. You’ll also find games that are not designed to frighten them.
A family activity that can be enjoyed be all of the members of a family from small children to Grandma and Grandpa is pumpkin carving. The fun can begin with a trip to a pumpkin farm and the selection of “just-the-right” pumpkin. Young children can participate in the plan and the design of the finished Jack o’ Lantern.
Bobbing for apples is another fun activity in which even young children can participate. (The apples that small children bob for need to be small, as well.)
There are probably thousands of crafts that use crepe paper, construction paper, scissors, and glue and that are simple enough that even young children can participate.
The costumes that are purchased or made for small children should represent familiar characters that don’t promote fear. Superhero costumes for little boys can’t be beat. Fairy princess costumes and Cinderella costumes are excellent choices for little girls.