BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Many kids look forward to Halloween. The holiday can be cute or scary. It’s a tough one to navigate for parents when it comes to the scary side of things, especially haunted houses.

What’s the right age, and how can you tell if your child is ready? Akron Children’s Hospital’s Regional Injury Prevention Coordinator Bill McMahon said it depends on the maturity of the child.

There is really no specific age, but younger children may struggle with realizing what is fake and what is real. A child’s ability to discern fantasy from reality is key, and it’s a milestone that children meet at different times.

“It depends on what they’ve been exposed to. When in doubt, don’t go. Always err on the side of caution with that,” McMahon said. “Preschool and kindergarten age, you still have that what they are seeing in front of them is scary, and they can’t always comprehend.”

Strobe lights and flashing lights can be a concern for kids with sensory or behavioral health issues. McMahon said what your child is able to tolerate at home during a movie may not be the same at a haunted house.

“There are lights and mirrors that are there to purposely throw you off and give that sense of suspense, but in a movie, you really don’t get that 3D effect. In reality, with the smells, touch and all your senses are a part of that experience, that in itself can be extremely intimidating for a young child.”

And McMahon warns that just because you are a haunted house fan, don’t assume your kids will be, too. That type of imagery, especially with all the flashing lights, may not be a welcome experience to them, along with being bumped into or being touched.

“It’s that parent discretion and really know your child. If you are not 100% or unsure, keep walking and find a corn maze at one of our local farms,” McMahon said.