Halloween: How Scary Can You Be?
Parent to Parent
How Scary Can You Be? – Halloween
by Patti Hermes
Every year we have multiple discussions over the Halloween costumes. Costumes are a year-round phenomenon in our household (yes, still, even as they grow up!), and at Halloween they always want to step it up, take the scare up a notch or two.
But I’m the conservative force that holds them back. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Halloween: ghosts and goblins, witches and Frankenstein monsters, mummies and skeletons. A real skeleton would never drip blood, so therefore neither do any of my kids’ masks. No mass murderers, no horror flick heroes. Okay, so I made an exception with the Scream mask, but you have to admit it makes a good ghost (and besides, the original inspiration is a major work of art by Edward Munch).
But now, The Joker poses a dilemma. Should you allow a child, who is clearly not old enough to see the movie, dress up like the character? And yet, a creepily accurate version of The Joker from the most recent Batman movie is available as small as size 4, accompanied by the same clown masks used by his partners in crime for all their little friends.
I know, we’ve all seen Jason in his hockey mask, from Friday the 13th, and Freddie Krueger, from Nightmare on Elm Street for so long I bet there are plenty of parents out there who don’t even remember those movies. So what it is about Halloween that inspires so many little kids to dress up like maniacal serial killers? And why do we, as parents, let them … encourage them, even?
I have a rule in my house: NO BLOOD. Skeletons do not drip blood, the grim reaper does not drip blood from his scythe, Frankenstein does not drip blood, ghosts are already dead so, of course, no dripping blood. Yes, I know vampires drink blood, but they would never waste it by dripping it all down their pristine white shirts. Witches, goblins and ghouls all do not drip blood. Not in my house, anyway.
Yes, we prefer the classic Halloween characters. But I also go along with movie and TV characters as costumes, as long as they are age-appropriate. So while Star Wars Clone Troopers are in, the Dark Knight is out this year. At least until they are old enough to see and understand the movie.
I suppose I should be grateful that I’m not shopping amongst all the skank-wear that has overtaken all the little girls’ costumes. It’s easier to enforce my “No Blood” rule than any arbitrary “no fishnets, no bare midriffs, no cleavage” rule. But then again, it’s way too cold for those skin-baring costumes to be any use for trick-or-treating. Just cover them up with a nice warm coat.
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