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Parenting: Careful With The Boogey Man

When is it the right time to scare your children?

Witches, Goblins, Ghosts…Oh No! The Halloween craziness is here! 

Children are trying to contain the excitement of traveling to the neighborhood pumpkin patch and finding the perfect pumpkin. Jumping off haystacks, picking corn for the table décor or running through corn mazes is all the fun at this true marking of Fall.

Now comes parental advisories. Do we take our young ones to Spirit Costume Stores? Do we buy the costume with the blood dripping and the head hanging by a vein? 

“Come In” whispers a creepy witch at the door beckoning our children into a world of eerie music, darkness, flashing lights and the goriest of scenes at our favorite Haunted House. Do we want to have our children experience the scariest, “jump out of your skin” creepiest houses in the area?

We could always take them to the Halloween Haunt at Great America where the wicked come to us within breathing distance frightening us with weaponry or bloody body parts.

Perhaps we should stay snuggled at home renting cool movies such as Halloween Part 22 or The Exorcist? 

In order to decide how you should spend your Halloween, it's important to know your children and understand what effects may occur when exposed to the gore.

  1. Understand the media /haunted house exposure.
  2. Know your children. Do they sleep well? Do they have nightmares? Do they have any anxiety?
  3. Children under 7 years believe what they see. Common Sense Media suggests to stick to animated movies and avoid any material involving characters their age.
  4. 8-10 year olds seem to begin to distinguish between fantasy and reality.  They may love going to haunted houses...but bring on the happy endings.  Spirit costume stores will intrigue this age as well. Choose films, however without gore or physical harm. This can continue to deeply affect a young child.
  5. Middle School kids are usually ready to be scared. Parents should continue to be mindful of blood and gore but humor is essential. Safe and sound endings are the best. 
  6. High schoolers…believe this or not, under the age of 16 should not see slasher movies or movies with kids in danger. Many movies now have not only violence but a smattering of sexuality as well. This may be a bit confusing for the kids exploring their own sexuality.

Of course this is just an overview and is completely up to parental discretion.  Remember what goes in to the brain, to the psyche, is lodged and doesn’t come out. Practice common sense, know your child well, and try not to be too selfish about your own wants during this fun time of year.

Carve a pumpkin, jump off that haystack, make some bread with your veggie soup, and spend quality time together. 

Happy Haunting!

How do you plan to celebrate Halloween?

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