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Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Trauma-Free Halloween - A Non-Fiction Update

Halloween was always my least favorite holiday when I worked with small children. There was always some costumed person the child saw while trick-or-treating that scared him or her to death. For years I spent every Halloween comforting traumatized, crying children. One little boy had nightmares for over a week following the holiday. 

I have long wondered if Anders would find costumed people scary. He has no concept for the scary things people dress as on Halloween i.e. would seeing a person dressed as wicked witch scare you, if you had no concept in your mind of evil witches using magic to ruin your life? Would a person dressed as a witch be scary if you had no concept of magic? Some of the costumes in the windows around Los Angeles are pretty evil looking, but Anders has no real concept of evil, so I have been curious to know how he will think about these things. Will he find evil faces scary or will he just think they look weird?

I have told Anders about the holiday coming up, Halloween in which people wear costumes, and recently I took him to a costume store. He knows about the concept of wearing costumes from the Renaissance Fair (which he loves) so costumes are a pretty positive thing for him. He has shown no interest thus far in the role-play costumes that kids his age often get into. For example, he loves construction and pretends to do it every day, but when I offered to buy him a construction outfit on three different occasions he said, "No,"

At the costume store (Cinema Secrets if you know it) there were some pretty fantastic and gruesome costumes on display, one in particular, a witch, was pretty horrifying. Anders pointed to it and said, "What's that?" I said, "That's a costume for someone who wants to pretend to be a very ugly, old lady. Some people call ugly, old ladies 'witches,' and when they are pretending to be a witch they laugh like this, 'He he he he he!'" I said, "Do you think this costume is scary or or ugly or just weird?" He said, "Not scary." I said, "Do you think it's ugly?" He said, "No." I said, "Weird then?" But he had already walked off, which means his answer was, "Boring." We looked at other things. He was most interested in the makeup that made people look like they had huge wounds, but he did not think that was scary either.

Anders does not want to dress up on Halloween, though I imagine if his father or I were going to dress up he would possibly change his mind, but we have no plans to. The only costume Anders showed any interest in was a bear costume, but he didn't want to wear it and in the end just wanted a little bear figurine to play with. (He is very interested in bears right now thanks to the Disney Nature Bear documentary I bought for our plane rides over the summer.) 

A side note: Anders is not afraid of the dark. He is afraid of falling when there are no lights on, but perhaps since he has never heard of ghosts or monsters and we have spend a lot of time playing with shadows, he has always been comfortable with the dark, inside and out, and has never needed a nightlight or anything like that.

Anyway, just a development update for those of you who are interested in knowing what happens when you raise your kids without fantasy fiction! 

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