Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Holidays => Topic started by: BeautifulDisaster on September 25, 2012, 07:07:55 PM

Title: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: BeautifulDisaster on September 25, 2012, 07:07:55 PM
Article: http://tinyurl.com/cg7a8hv

The gist of it is neighbors across the street from three houses that go all out for Halloween are angry because the decorations scared their 5yo. The letter writer is asking if they're rude to not tone it down now that they know the child is afraid.

I personally like and agree with Prudie's answer, but wanted to hear Ehellion's thoughts on the matter. :)
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Ceallach on September 25, 2012, 07:23:40 PM
I think it's similar to when a toddler falls over - they look to the parents for how to react.    In this case, I'm sure the parent's hysteria contributed to the girl's fear.   In a way they're using her as a pawn to get their own way re the neighbourhood decorations, and that's not really fair to the neighbours.   

So yes, I agree with Prudie.    Although I'm not a fan of scary decorations myself at all!   But it just seems common sense to teach your child how to deal with scary things in this world, rather than trying to pretend they don't exist.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Acadianna on September 25, 2012, 07:29:13 PM
Prudie's advice was spot on.

Halloween decorations are everywhere.  Our local grocery and drug store both have respectable displays of gruesome.  Unless these three houses have truly over-the-top decorations, the parents aren't going to be able to insulate this little girl from Halloween.  Far better, as Prudie said, to guide her through understanding that it's all fake and just for fun.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: snowdragon on September 25, 2012, 07:33:28 PM
I agree with her up til she suggested these people have the kid over to "help" decorate.  That would take all the fun out of it for me and its not the neighbor's job to teach this kid how to have fun with Halloween.  Perhaps if the parents don't want her to see things that are scarey on Halloween, they need to find a way to deal with it that won't impinge on the neighborhood and/or expect them to loose out on fun because of one person
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: HorseFreak on September 25, 2012, 07:53:45 PM
The neighbors need to deal with it; 5 year olds can be scared of darn near anything. Are they going to avoid the mall if there's a temporary Halloween store or insist it be closed? It's not like the writer is banging on the girl's window wearing a gorilla mask at night.

A friend of mine had neighbors of a certain religion who do not celebrate holidays. The friend had a pretty typical display with a Santa and some reindeer with a few strings of lights for Christmas one year and the neighbor came over to demand that she take them down as they were against her religion. Friend politely told them to buzz off which is about what I would do with these people.

Maybe people who are extremely offended at common yard decorations for various holidays should move to one of those super restrictive HOAs where it's prohibited. You don't get to project your more-than-average sensitivity onto everyone else. 
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: kherbert05 on September 25, 2012, 07:54:51 PM
The parents are being SS. Helping set up would probably help. But I expect the parents hysteria is then real cause of the fear.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Venus193 on September 25, 2012, 07:59:43 PM

Maybe people who are extremely offended at common yard decorations for various holidays should move to one of those super restrictive HOAs where it's prohibited. You don't get to project your more-than-average sensitivity onto everyone else.

Absolutely.

The parents are being SS. Helping set up would probably help. But I expect the parents hysteria is then real cause of the fear.

I suspect this is true.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Iris on September 25, 2012, 09:57:54 PM
DD2 had nightmares easily. We don't celebrate Halloween much in our country but I can imagine that a yard full of creepy things plus fog machine would have set her off. Personally I would have been a bit more active in my parenting and nicely asked the neighbours if they would mind if we came over and had a good poke about so that she could see everything was plastic/rubber. They would have been well within their rights to say no, but IME letting the kid get hands on and explore is the most effective way to treat fears. It would never have crossed my mind to ask them not to decorate.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: gmatoy on September 25, 2012, 11:32:21 PM
DD2 had nightmares easily. We don't celebrate Halloween much in our country but I can imagine that a yard full of creepy things plus fog machine would have set her off. Personally I would have been a bit more active in my parenting and nicely asked the neighbours if they would mind if we came over and had a good poke about so that she could see everything was plastic/rubber. They would have been well within their rights to say no, but IME letting the kid get hands on and explore is the most effective way to treat fears. It would never have crossed my mind to ask them not to decorate.

And that, my friend, is why you are a good neighbor!
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Isometric on September 25, 2012, 11:53:16 PM
I also agree with the response, and several PP's. Touching the rubbery stuff, seeing it's fake would help, I would have thought. As long as it's cartoon/funny scary, rather than "look at our display of real life murder information" I think the parents should have dealt with it differently (better)
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Erich L-ster on September 26, 2012, 01:02:54 AM
I was trying to think of what this reminded me of and I got it.

This is kind of like the situation with those parents who filmed their 2 boys bawling their eyes out over the "Timothy Green" movie, teased their kids while filming and put it on youtube.

Nowhere in the teasing and filming did either parent say "It's just a movie, it's not real, the kid is an actor, he didn't really die."

The neighbor's kid needs to be told and taught (by the parents) that the witches and ghosts aren't real, they're just plastic, they're nothing to be afraid of.

Do some parenting, people!
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: lovepickles on September 26, 2012, 02:32:03 AM
I have a very observant toddler who adores her little water squirting monsters but is freaked out by the billboards for scary movies she sees around town. I'm actually kind of mad about some of those advertisements but I don't want to get too far off topic. But in this case it totally depends on the decorations. Tombstones and a skeletons a witch or other "classic" Halloween icons are nothing to worry about but when you start seeing knives stuck into dummies, chainsaws or fake puddles of blood I would say something to the neighbors. I think if it doesn't get a PG rating it belongs on the back porch or inside. People go too far with the gore and I'm not interested in desensitizing my kid to that kind of crap because there are people in the world that think it is "fun".

Just to be clear I'm not anti-decoration ... but this neighbor admitted to being "gruesome" and if she's being true to the word that is too far for the front yard. Just because the majority on her block is above the age of 8 doesn't mean that everyone is. I think prudence was off the mark on this one. Boo.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on September 26, 2012, 06:16:37 AM
When I was a kid, we had a next door neighbor who loved to set up a frightening display in their house.  It was really well done, as actually two guys in the neighborhood who were friends would get together and do this. One would dress up as Dracula and lay in a vertical coffin and when you came to the door he'd wake up and reach out for you.  Scared the bejaysus out of me when I was little and go figure, by the time I was old enough to really enjoy it and appreciate being scared, they stopped doing it!

I think the parents of the 5 year old are definitely being special snowflakes and I agree their hysteria's probably adding to the child's fear.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Bexx27 on September 26, 2012, 06:28:11 AM
I have a very observant toddler who adores her little water squirting monsters but is freaked out by the billboards for scary movies she sees around town. I'm actually kind of mad about some of those advertisements but I don't want to get too far off topic. But in this case it totally depends on the decorations. Tombstones and a skeletons a witch or other "classic" Halloween icons are nothing to worry about but when you start seeing knives stuck into dummies, chainsaws or fake puddles of blood I would say something to the neighbors. I think if it doesn't get a PG rating it belongs on the back porch or inside. People go too far with the gore and I'm not interested in desensitizing my kid to that kind of crap because there are people in the world that think it is "fun".

Just to be clear I'm not anti-decoration ... but this neighbor admitted to being "gruesome" and if she's being true to the word that is too far for the front yard. Just because the majority on her block is above the age of 8 doesn't mean that everyone is. I think prudence was off the mark on this one. Boo.

No, the LW said her displays are not gruesome and mentioned tombstones, skeletons, and witches as the kinds of decorations they use. I can sympathize with parents not wanting their kids exposed to realistic gore, or explicit depictions of murder, but that's not the issue here.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: gorplady on September 26, 2012, 06:54:32 AM
I have a very observant toddler who adores her little water squirting monsters but is freaked out by the billboards for scary movies she sees around town. I'm actually kind of mad about some of those advertisements but I don't want to get too far off topic. But in this case it totally depends on the decorations. Tombstones and a skeletons a witch or other "classic" Halloween icons are nothing to worry about but when you start seeing knives stuck into dummies, chainsaws or fake puddles of blood I would say something to the neighbors. I think if it doesn't get a PG rating it belongs on the back porch or inside. People go too far with the gore and I'm not interested in desensitizing my kid to that kind of crap because there are people in the world that think it is "fun".

Just to be clear I'm not anti-decoration ... but this neighbor admitted to being "gruesome" and if she's being true to the word that is too far for the front yard. Just because the majority on her block is above the age of 8 doesn't mean that everyone is. I think prudence was off the mark on this one. Boo.

You can ask, but be prepared for the answer to be no.

Unfortunately, your parenting desires don't trump other people's desires.  For example, in my state, there is currently a huge battle going on over a very political issue. I find the signs supporting the issue to be offensive. I don't get to tell people to not put those signs in their yard because I find them offensive and I don't want to have to explain the issue to my children.

The world is not PG and there shouldn't be an expectation that everyone is PG just because there are children around.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Two Ravens on September 26, 2012, 08:05:42 AM
The world is not PG and there shouldn't be an expectation that everyone is PG just because there are children around.

Right, this reminded me of the recent entry over on the Be Quiet Parents Blog* which had a parent complaining to the local new stations Facebook page about how the news was to scary for her kids, and couldn't they save all the bad news for the 10 o'clock show?

*Not the actual blog name because I can't remember if we are allowed to say it here or not.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: WillyNilly on September 26, 2012, 08:29:51 AM
Actually the world is PG - parental guidance expected.  To ask that things be lower then PG is to shirk your responsibility as a parent - it is your responsibility to guide your child through the world.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: kakack on September 26, 2012, 09:51:06 AM
My DS's birthday is actually on Halloween, so decorating in October is a big deal for us.  Up until he was 5, he was really freaked out by the scary, ghoulish decorations many stores put out - especially the party stores.  My solution was go go to those places when he wasn't with me, or have him close his eyes until we were past those areas. 

Now that he's turning 7, he's wanting to get a little more scary with the decorations.  I've let him get a little bit creepy with stuff this year, but nothing too scary, as we will have some 2 and 3 year olds coming to his party.  As he gets older, I know it will get a little more frightening, but I hold the ultimate line on decorations, because I don't like the extremely gruesome stuff. 

Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: magicdomino on September 26, 2012, 11:02:37 AM
I've very interested in this Dear Prudence letter because I love Halloween.  While I don't have the time or money for a true home haunt, I have ambitions.   :)  I agree with letting the little girl see some of the the props before they are set up.  Quite frankly, many Halloween decorations aren't that well made, and don't exactly look their best in the bright sunlight.  Only if she wishes to, though.  The greenish "glow-in-the-dark" skeleton that is clearly fake to an adult might still look a little creepy to a small child. 

Some home haunters set up an area with cute decorations like blow molds for the younger children.  I try to aim the creepiest stuff over the smallest kids' heads, so that they are looking at the giant skull, while their parent is eyeing the zombies over in the far corner.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: gramma dishes on September 26, 2012, 11:25:04 AM
DD2 had nightmares easily. We don't celebrate Halloween much in our country but I can imagine that a yard full of creepy things plus fog machine would have set her off. Personally I would have been a bit more active in my parenting and nicely asked the neighbours if they would mind if we came over and had a good poke about so that she could see everything was plastic/rubber. They would have been well within their rights to say no, but IME letting the kid get hands on and explore is the most effective way to treat fears. It would never have crossed my mind to ask them not to decorate.

Yes.  That is exactly what I would have done.  If I were the five year old's mother, I would have requested permission and if I were the decorating neighbor, I'd have suggested that they do exactly that with their child -- during daylight hours!   ;D
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: TheaterDiva1 on September 26, 2012, 11:46:53 AM
I think the neighbors are being SSs - especially if other kids don't have a problem with the decorations.  I would offer a behind-the-scenes tour to the girl.  If the issue, for example, is a mechanical Dracula sitting up in a coffin, show her how it works.  She may not be so scared once she sees it's just a piece of plastic with a motor (or whatever it's made of).
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: bah12 on September 26, 2012, 12:21:56 PM
I also like Prudie's answer.  The parents are unrealistic to expect that their neighbors are going to cater to the whims of a 5 year old.  Sure, she's scared, but instead of teaching her that sometimes we're scared of things that really aren't scary, or that there are ways to deal with our fears, they are teaching her that the world will just remove all potentially frightening things or else they are bad people?

If I were the parent of the 5 year old, I'd validate her fears. Sure, if those goblins, ghosts, and monsters were real, they'd be pretty scary...but they're not real.  I'd ask the neighbors if I could take her over (in daylight) without any of the special effects to show her it's all plastic and it's meant to be fun.

And while I agree that it isn't the neighbor's responsibility to educate the child, I think it would be a kind and neighborly of them to at least offer to have her come over and see that the decorations are not going to harm her.  If they take a step to help her and the parents understand that they aren't purposely trying to scare anyone, it could go a long way.  And if it doesn't, at least they can know that they tried to do the right thing and feel better about not bowing to unrealistic demands.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Tabby Uprising on September 26, 2012, 12:52:38 PM
I also like Prudie's answer.  The parents are unrealistic to expect that their neighbors are going to cater to the whims of a 5 year old.  Sure, she's scared, but instead of teaching her that sometimes we're scared of things that really aren't scary, or that there are ways to deal with our fears, they are teaching her that the world will just remove all potentially frightening things or else they are bad people?

If I were the parent of the 5 year old, I'd validate her fears. Sure, if those goblins, ghosts, and monsters were real, they'd be pretty scary...but they're not real.  I'd ask the neighbors if I could take her over (in daylight) without any of the special effects to show her it's all plastic and it's meant to be fun.

And while I agree that it isn't the neighbor's responsibility to educate the child, I think it would be a kind and neighborly of them to at least offer to have her come over and see that the decorations are not going to harm her.  If they take a step to help her and the parents understand that they aren't purposely trying to scare anyone, it could go a long way.  And if it doesn't, at least they can know that they tried to do the right thing and feel better about not bowing to unrealistic demands.

I agree.  It's not about forcing people into teachable moments, but taking an opportunity to reach out to the neighbors and see if they can help.  If the neighbors don't want to, they don't have to.  You never know, some neighbors might not agree to it, but then there are neighbors like me who would be happy to help out.  I'd love it!
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: kherbert05 on September 30, 2012, 08:04:17 PM
I also like Prudie's answer.  The parents are unrealistic to expect that their neighbors are going to cater to the whims of a 5 year old.  Sure, she's scared, but instead of teaching her that sometimes we're scared of things that really aren't scary, or that there are ways to deal with our fears, they are teaching her that the world will just remove all potentially frightening things or else they are bad people?

If I were the parent of the 5 year old, I'd validate her fears. Sure, if those goblins, ghosts, and monsters were real, they'd be pretty scary...but they're not real.  I'd ask the neighbors if I could take her over (in daylight) without any of the special effects to show her it's all plastic and it's meant to be fun.

And while I agree that it isn't the neighbor's responsibility to educate the child, I think it would be a kind and neighborly of them to at least offer to have her come over and see that the decorations are not going to harm her.  If they take a step to help her and the parents understand that they aren't purposely trying to scare anyone, it could go a long way.  And if it doesn't, at least they can know that they tried to do the right thing and feel better about not bowing to unrealistic demands.

I agree.  It's not about forcing people into teachable moments, but taking an opportunity to reach out to the neighbors and see if they can help.  If the neighbors don't want to, they don't have to.  You never know, some neighbors might not agree to it, but then there are neighbors like me who would be happy to help out.  I'd love it!
In my experience people who go all out and decorations, usually like showing how it is done. They like decorating, the goal is to have fun not scare small kids.  Also it doesn't sound like they are doing things like jumping out at people, or targeting young kids for a fright.

A few years back a neighbor of Sis's ruined halloween for all the kids in the neighborhood - he was running around
a. Drunk
b. With a chain saw
c. Deliberately scaring small kids (as in Brett was 2 going on 3 and the guy targeted him.)
d. One of the cops later told Sis it was a good thing that one of the parents called 911 because the idiot had left the chain on the saw - it was functional and someone could have been killed.

All the kids stayed inside that Halloween, and had to be assured that idiot wasn't going to be around (He had moved) the next year.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: magician5 on September 30, 2012, 09:14:54 PM
When I was maybe 5 years old (I'm 63 now) I was indoors alone on a sunny Saturday watching television (who wants to dig in a wormy icky garden anyway?). I had no idea what movie was on, but on screen the tension ratched up, until there was a scary "jump" shot and I RAN out the front door, hysterical, screaming for my parents. They calmed me down (no easy task, as I really couldn't explain very well) and never let me see anything scary again.

The result of the horrible scare? I shrugged it off in a couple of days, no permanent damage. Well... I DID turn into the odd person I am today, so maybe it was a blessing ... no harm done. And all through the rest of the 1950s into the 1960s, I missed all the best cheesy monster movies, darn it!

BTW, I found out only a few years ago that the movie was "Doctor X" with Fay Wray (my young self already loved her from King Kong) and Preston Foster (I remembered that he was so noble in The Last Days of Pompeii) ... saw it again for the first time since the "incident" last year and ... what on earth was I scared of? Lame movie! Lame kid!
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: LifeOnPluto on October 01, 2012, 01:03:10 AM
If the decorations were realistic (eg depictions of murder victims, etc) I'd say the parents have a case. But it sounds like these are your standard plastic-y, rubbery, skeletons and vampires, etc? That being the case, I think the parents don't have a leg to stand on.

As other posters have said, little kids can be afraid of random things. And encouraging the child's fear isn't a good thing.

If I were the neighbour with the decorations, I'd offer to give the family a "behind the scenes tour" in the daytime. But I definitely wouldn't take them down.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: magicdomino on October 01, 2012, 11:15:13 AM
In my experience people who go all out and decorations, usually like showing how it is done. They like decorating, the goal is to have fun not scare small kids.   Also it doesn't sound like they are doing things like jumping out at people, or targeting young kids for a fright.


This.  I'm interested in creating original designs fitting into an overall theme.  I'm not interested in making small children cry.  Teenagers, however . . .   >:D
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Redneck Gravy on October 01, 2012, 02:58:11 PM
While I am the first to agree with most of the posters here about being able to hang what you want to...

I don't want to drive down my block seeing sawed up people, hanging people, mummies, dead people, nails driven into dummies, chain saws and the like EVERYWHERE then try to go in my own house and sleep.

It seems that good taste has gone south and it's all about how gory and creepy you can get.  I don't like it but I'm not going to pitch a fit over Halloween decorations.  I jus wish some of the decorators would go another route.



Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Iris on October 01, 2012, 04:57:52 PM
^Sawed up people? Ewwwwwwww. Glad I'm not in your neck of the woods.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: snowdragon on October 01, 2012, 10:01:56 PM
While I am the first to agree with most of the posters here about being able to hang what you want to...

I don't want to drive down my block seeing sawed up people, hanging people, mummies, dead people, nails driven into dummies, chain saws and the like EVERYWHERE then try to go in my own house and sleep.

It seems that good taste has gone south and it's all about how gory and creepy you can get.  I don't like it but I'm not going to pitch a fit over Halloween decorations.  I jus wish some of the decorators would go another route.

  Where do you live? I SO want to go sight seeing around Halloween!
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Sharnita on October 02, 2012, 09:24:54 AM
While I am the first to agree with most of the posters here about being able to hang what you want to...

I don't want to drive down my block seeing sawed up people, hanging people, mummies, dead people, nails driven into dummies, chain saws and the like EVERYWHERE then try to go in my own house and sleep.

It seems that good taste has gone south and it's all about how gory and creepy you can get.  I don't like it but I'm not going to pitch a fit over Halloween decorations.  I jus wish some of the decorators would go another route.

Yeah, I am with you.  I think some of it depends on sensitivities.  To some hanging people are decorations.  Unfortunately, to others it is the reminder of finding somebody they personally knew who committed suicide.  I also know that for some it might seem like a racial reference to lynching.  I am sure there are other decorations that can be triggers for other people.  I have known multiple people who have been killed violently and an unfortunate number who have been involved in committing violent acts so I don't find the decorations fun or festive.  I would not generally say anything to a neighbor unless something was outrageously grotesque or something but I can understand people, even adults, having a gut wrenching reaction to some things that seem harmless to others.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Really? on October 02, 2012, 10:06:33 AM
Hi

I think its all within reason is what matters, and yes PG would be good.

I had a friend (ex friend) who thought it would be great to decorate his parents yard. He dressed up a some horror movie character with a chainsaw and buried himselfs in leaves. When the kids came by he sat up and had the chainsaw noises going, becuase he's START UP THE REAL CHANGE SAW.

(Seriously, seriously seriously wrong IMO) But he didn't get why the neighbours complained to his parents and the cops were probably called. TG I am no longer friends with this person.

Me me me
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Shoo on October 02, 2012, 10:17:03 AM
Hi

I think its all within reason is what matters, and yes PG would be good.

I had a friend (ex friend) who thought it would be great to decorate his parents yard. He dressed up a some horror movie character with a chainsaw and buried himselfs in leaves. When the kids came by he sat up and had the chainsaw noises going, becuase he's START UP THE REAL CHANGE SAW.

(Seriously, seriously seriously wrong IMO) But he didn't get why the neighbours complained to his parents and the cops were probably called. TG I am no longer friends with this person.

Me me me

Did he at least remove the chain first? 
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: magicdomino on October 02, 2012, 10:25:50 AM
*sigh*  Even professional haunts either remove the chain or use fakes -- usually the latter since gas-driven chainsaws have some hazards even without the chain.  Then again, professional haunts think about things like lawsuits. 

Let me repeat:  Thou shalt not make the little kids cry.  Smart pros have a separate route for the little ones.  Reserve the Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the teenagers who didn't bother to wear a real costume.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Jones on October 02, 2012, 12:51:18 PM
I faintly remember a T or T incident when I was quite small, when my mother was taking me up the driveway to a house and a larger boy in a mask set off a bunch of firecrackers while simultaneously jumping at me. Mom knew the family, so she took him by the ear and marched him to the door while I sobbed in fear. His parents gave me a load of candy.

Ran into him in high school. Apparently he had been angry at the time but much later felt bad about the incident.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: cocacola35 on October 27, 2012, 10:55:17 AM
I think Prudie's advice is good, but in my experience a someone that expects everyone to cater to their demands is not very receptive to compromise. 

When I was very young, my mom took me ToTing to the neighbor's "haunted house".  The neighbor's son had dressed up like Dracula and was lying in a coffin.  If you wanted candy, you had to be brave enough to grab it off of his chest.  I started crying and was scared.  My mother took me away and after I had calmed down a bit she explained that it was just neighbor's son in a costume and all the other "tricks" were fake.  Because of what she told me, the next year I was able to go through it without getting upset- even brave enough to grab some candy :) 

It never occurred to my mother to demand the neighbors tear down their haunted house because it scared me.  In fact, doing that would have done me no favors at all- I never would have known how to overcome my own fears.  I feel sorry for kids that have these helicopter parents; they never learn to overcome fear or take responsibility for their own safety.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Sharnita on October 27, 2012, 01:08:44 PM
Actually, I think it can be a bit tricky.  In your case you had obviously never had any actual life encounters with Dracula.  However, I have had students who have witnessed family members get murdered.  I know people who have found suicide victims who have hung themselves. The problem with Halloween decorations can be that they use potentially real/realistic imagery which is fake for some but could be real to others. Now I don't go right to assuming others should take down their decorations for the comfort of their neighbors but I also think that in at least a few cases it might be overly simplistic to shrug it off and say "tell them it's fake".
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Kimblee on October 27, 2012, 01:45:23 PM
In my experience people who go all out and decorations, usually like showing how it is done. They like decorating, the goal is to have fun not scare small kids.   Also it doesn't sound like they are doing things like jumping out at people, or targeting young kids for a fright.


This.  I'm interested in creating original designs fitting into an overall theme.  I'm not interested in making small children cry.  Teenagers, however . . .   >:D

Making little kids cry is actually kinda a low blow for me. (In that when I've done it its left me feeling rotten.) But the two years I did a haunted "house" (It was actually a strip mall shop) I had a pretty good time. And got "saved" by Captain America. (Several years ago, so before the movie came out.)

I was supposed to be a vampire victim so I was all dressed up in my bloody nightgown, pretty gory. The age limit for my side of the house was 14+ so we had our game seriously stepped up. But apparently we were too close to the two entrances because a 4-6 y.o. Captain America ran to my rescue and whapped the vampire with his shield.  :P ;D

When I hugged him for "saving" me, he caught me off guard and smooched me on the mouth. lol
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Iris on October 27, 2012, 04:11:21 PM
In my experience people who go all out and decorations, usually like showing how it is done. They like decorating, the goal is to have fun not scare small kids.   Also it doesn't sound like they are doing things like jumping out at people, or targeting young kids for a fright.


This.  I'm interested in creating original designs fitting into an overall theme.  I'm not interested in making small children cry.  Teenagers, however . . .   >:D

Making little kids cry is actually kinda a low blow for me. (In that when I've done it its left me feeling rotten.) But the two years I did a haunted "house" (It was actually a strip mall shop) I had a pretty good time. And got "saved" by Captain America. (Several years ago, so before the movie came out.)

I was supposed to be a vampire victim so I was all dressed up in my bloody nightgown, pretty gory. The age limit for my side of the house was 14+ so we had our game seriously stepped up. But apparently we were too close to the two entrances because a 4-6 y.o. Captain America ran to my rescue and whapped the vampire with his shield.  :P ;D

When I hugged him for "saving" me, he caught me off guard and smooched me on the mouth. lol

Well, surely he'd earned it  ;) That vampire must have been twice his size. What a little hero!
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Firecat on October 28, 2012, 10:17:45 AM
In my experience people who go all out and decorations, usually like showing how it is done. They like decorating, the goal is to have fun not scare small kids.   Also it doesn't sound like they are doing things like jumping out at people, or targeting young kids for a fright.


This.  I'm interested in creating original designs fitting into an overall theme.  I'm not interested in making small children cry.  Teenagers, however . . .   >:D

Making little kids cry is actually kinda a low blow for me. (In that when I've done it its left me feeling rotten.) But the two years I did a haunted "house" (It was actually a strip mall shop) I had a pretty good time. And got "saved" by Captain America. (Several years ago, so before the movie came out.)

I was supposed to be a vampire victim so I was all dressed up in my bloody nightgown, pretty gory. The age limit for my side of the house was 14+ so we had our game seriously stepped up. But apparently we were too close to the two entrances because a 4-6 y.o. Captain America ran to my rescue and whapped the vampire with his shield.  :P ;D

When I hugged him for "saving" me, he caught me off guard and smooched me on the mouth. lol

Well, surely he'd earned it  ;) That vampire must have been twice his size. What a little hero!

Awww...what a sweet little guy! I'm not into the super gory stuff myself. What I tend to like more as Halloween decorations is things like the fake graveyards, maybe some skeletons and ghosts, bats, and so on. But as something of an arachnophobe, I really, really don't like the huge fake spiders. And if people do use them, I greatly appreciate it if they put them a distance from the sidewalk. But I figure that it's my problem to deal with, and wouldn't think of asking someone to remove one because of my issue.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: snowdragon on October 28, 2012, 12:05:59 PM
    I went to the haunted fortress at Old Fort Niagara last night. It was advertised as 8 and up. People brought infants and then complained it was not appropriate for the little ones.
     Only one of the haunters tried to touch anyone, with his sword, and our guide yelled at him - not sure if it was part of the show or not. None of the tourists in out groups tried to touch the actors. It was probably one of the best experiences I've ever had with one of these things.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: rashea on October 29, 2012, 07:59:49 AM
We used to do a haunted house, and later a haunted porch. But, we always told people (with a sign at the road) to yell ahead if they were scared and we wouldn't scare them. In fact, we would show them the tricks, and we had some cool tricks. That seemed to make the little kids love the scary as they grew up. I know a lot of parents really appreciated it. Maybe these neighbors could do something similar.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: Jaelle on October 30, 2012, 04:37:25 PM
    I went to the haunted fortress at Old Fort Niagara last night. It was advertised as 8 and up. People brought infants and then complained it was not appropriate for the little ones.
     Only one of the haunters tried to touch anyone, with his sword, and our guide yelled at him - not sure if it was part of the show or not. None of the tourists in out groups tried to touch the actors. It was probably one of the best experiences I've ever had with one of these things.

I've always wanted to go to that one. It's a seriously spooky spot anyway, especially at night!

I thought Prudence was right on. A few of our neighbors have some mildly gruesome/scary stuff out. (Mock graveyards, plastic body parts, giant spiders, etc.) I told the boys for walks past it in the daylight and explained it out. The 4-year-old was fascinated. Now I think he's looking forward to see how it looks Halloween night, and not focusing on the scary aspect. ;)
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: snowdragon on October 31, 2012, 01:41:50 PM
    I went to the haunted fortress at Old Fort Niagara last night. It was advertised as 8 and up. People brought infants and then complained it was not appropriate for the little ones.
     Only one of the haunters tried to touch anyone, with his sword, and our guide yelled at him - not sure if it was part of the show or not. None of the tourists in out groups tried to touch the actors. It was probably one of the best experiences I've ever had with one of these things.

I've always wanted to go to that one. It's a seriously spooky spot anyway, especially at night!

I thought Prudence was right on. A few of our neighbors have some mildly gruesome/scary stuff out. (Mock graveyards, plastic body parts, giant spiders, etc.) I told the boys for walks past it in the daylight and explained it out. The 4-year-old was fascinated. Now I think he's looking forward to see how it looks Halloween night, and not focusing on the scary aspect. ;)


 So let's go together next year. But it's not encouraged for kids under 8, but to  be fair it really is aimed at the very youngest set. The fort it self is scarier on normal day at dusk.to be honest.
Title: Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
Post by: texgalatheart on November 02, 2012, 03:47:47 PM
My daughter took her 4 year old goddaughter (GD4)  ToT this year. One house they went to had a scary masked man and 2 other people dressed up but not so scary. They must have been his spotters - when GD4 walked up, my daughter heard them whispering "nice,nice". The scary man didn't try to scare her. She totally enjoyed it.