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How Storytelling Can Ease Your Child's Fears This Halloween
Halloween's a time when parents and children can "walk into … darkness and face a fear," says Sparkle Stories' David Sewell McCann.";

Tonight, kids across Texas head door-to-door in search of Halloween candy. But some parents may fear more than a fleeting sugar rush – Halloween can also fill children's heads with scary and gory imagery that's tough to dislodge.

While Halloween's filled with all manner of things that go bump in the night, it also offers parents the chance to address their kids fears.

David Sewell McCann knows a thing or two about talking to kids. His "Sparkle Stories" podcast offers original children's stories each week – including stories that can put confusing or frightening events into context. 

McCann tells Texas Standard's David Brown that instead of listing reasons why your child shouldn't be scared, parents can use stories to meet their kids' fears. And with an improvised story, McCann he shows exactly how parents can do that.

Here's some interview highlights:

On the connection between stories and Halloween:

"Stories – I really see them as the way in which we make meaning. So I think we use stories all day long even, if they don’t belong with 'once upon a time.' But Halloween is a real invitation to use stories in a lot of different ways."

The therapeutic value of fear: 

"The unknown is even amplified [during Halloween] … Now we have this openness, a vulnerability that night, and part of that is beneficial. It is time to walk into that darkness and face a fear. ... There’s actually something potentially therapeutic about that – to actually try on the thing you’re scared of. But in that vulnerable place you are also available to be scared in a way that may take some undoing or unwinding from. And I really think stories could help with that."

Some advice for parents spinning their own stories:

"Make room for yourself to be surprised too. Don’t enter into this trying to architect something that nails it; instead be willing to just make a mess of it."

Listen to the full interview – and an original story McCann composed for Texas Standard – in the audio player above. You can also download four additional Halloween stories at the "Sparkle Stories" website and get more stories through iTunes.

David entered radio journalism thanks to a love of storytelling, an obsession with news, and a desire to keep his hair long and play in rock bands. An inveterate political junkie with a passion for pop culture and the romance of radio, David has reported from bases in Washington, London, Los Angeles, and Boston for Monitor Radio and for NPR, and has anchored in-depth public radio documentaries from India, Brazil, and points across the United States and Europe. He is, perhaps, known most widely for his work as host of public radio's Marketplace. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of moving to Texas full-time in 2005, Brown joined the staff of KUT, launching the award-winning cultural journalism unit "Texas Music Matters."
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