I am a wuss when it comes to anything scary.
I once went through one of those live action horror experiences where actors pretending to be serial killers chase you and I screamed. A lot. Everyone else was laughing while I was genuinely terrified. Not great.
So maybe I’m being overly sensitive on this topic, I’m not sure. But it’s certainly been on my mind with all the Halloween-themed places we’ve visited over the last few weeks.
Am I the only one who thinks Halloween has become too scary for toddlers?
With all of the fake blood, ghosts, monsters, various instruments of torture and enormous spiders, there’s quite a lot to give children nightmares.
The growth of Halloween
It seems the celebrations get bigger and bigger every year and we’re getting close to rivalling America for our all-out spooky parties.
The toddler and baby outfits are adorable. The pumpkins, little witches outfits and skeleton all-in-ones are so hard to resist. It’s not these costumes that I have the trouble with.
Plus a lot of the decorations are harmless fun. The little lanterns and plastic spiders you can create little webs for at home. And of course there’s pumpkin carving, which is brilliant for kids.
But there are more sinister scares creeping into venues where I’m not sure they’re appropriate.
It’s the decorations at child-friendly venues that seem to have ramped up a notch. There are twisted clowns, demonic skeletons and bloodied zombies at places aimed at kids of all ages.
We were on a train ride at our local country park which had decorated the route with a lot of ghosts. My toddler kept asking what they were and I lied and said they were just bed sheets someone had hung up.
It’s not just that I’m worried about her. Being totally selfish, I don’t want her waking up from a nightmare and not wanting to go back to sleep.
She already has a pretty overactive imagination that has caused nightmares, courtesy of things like Paw Patrol introducing the Snow Monster in one episode (thanks a lot you’re furry a***holes).
I think at age two she shouldn’t be exposed to scary stuff like this. I think it should be gentle scares, like feel this slime and look at this spider.
Sign of the times
I wonder if this tendency to go for more extreme decorations has been influenced in part by the increasingly grim content of horror movies today.
Whereas it was all suggestive 20 years ago, today you have the torture porn category of horror laying it all out there. Every director seems to be trying to push the envelope that little bit more. Audiences expect something more and more shocking every time they go to the cinema.
Movie tickets are sold based on a film being described as the “sickest thing you’ll ever see”.
Everything has a place and if that’s what you want to see at the cinema, then great.
But I think toddlers’ experience of scary stuff needs to stay more innocent.
I don’t want my little girl to think she has monsters under her bed. I want her to go to sleep thinking about the happy day she’s had.
I don’t want to teach her to be afraid of the dark, I want her to feel safe in her own home.
So I’m counting down the days until our usual play destinations take down the Halloween decorations.
Then we can get back to the kiddy-friendly celebrations like Christmas and Easter, when it’s definitely a case of the bigger, the better for decorations,
What do you think of Halloween decorations? Have they become more extreme? Have you ever worried about what your child is exposed to during October? I would love to hear your thoughts.