How scary is too scary for kids?

Last week, Entertainment Weekly published the article "Making the case for scary movies for kids" in their Family Room blog. The writer believes some parents are over-sheltering their kids, asserting that this "can only lead to kids growing up to fear their own shadows. Generation X is raising Generation Ahh!" This comes on the heels of Frankenweenie's disappointing run which some believed to be too creepy for kids (but it was a beautiful movie!), while Hotel Transylvania (which was admittedly cutesy) holds on as the #3 movie in America. And in the latest episode of Modern Family, Claire was boycotted by the neighborhood for being too scary.

This is the age-old debate: How scary is too scary for kids? Halloween continues to be viewed as a kid's holiday (as the costume and candy sales will attest), yet aren't kids more resilient (desensitized) given today's accessibility to the internet/cable? Or do we get more frightened as we grow up? We live in an age of bloody crime procedurals, survival video games, and Snooki hot tub monsters.

When I was growing up, my parents were cautious but I was never denied access to scary stuff. And while Halloween was a spooky time, it was a decidedly fun time. Being afraid was like riding a roller coaster that couldn't derail and lop off your head. The second the lights came on, everything was better. It was just make-believe (with haunted sounds, eerie lighting, creepy fog in the dark of night).

A couple parents think my site, is too ghastly for kids. (Seriously. Who doesn't like a bloody logo?) There's nothing un-family-friendly, although kids are not my intended audience. Some neighbors think my little porch haunt is too scary for trick 'r treaters. Granted every year a couple of youngsters don't get any closer than the other side of the street. Last year, I heard a dad tell his crying son, "This is what you wanted. To be scared on Halloween!" Most kids seem to relish in the spirit of Halloween and one declared, "I'm not afraid. I know it's fake." I replied calmly, "You are going to make him angry and he's going to follow you home." For a split second, the kid looks back at my zombie and places that image in the darkest corner of his room. "Nah. He's made of rubber, " he says only half-smiling now.

I question every (public) choice I make for Halloween and realize that some parents will not like it. But I guess they'll be staying home on Halloween night. Any parents out there? What do you think?


Yalco (Chris) said…
I totally agree! Bring on the spooky for adults and kids alike.
Spookywolffe said…
My 8-year-old daughter went to three pretty intense haunted attractions this year, and although she was terrified in parts, after the fact she was THRILLED to have done it. She has been helping in my "home scare" since she was barely walking. I think it certainly depends on the "raising", but I know how many kids I've thrilled at the home haunt since I moved to this neighborhood a decade ago. Keep it spooky!!