Author Topic: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary  (Read 11883 times)

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BeautifulDisaster

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Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« on: September 25, 2012, 08:07:55 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. :)

Ceallach

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2012, 08:23:40 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.
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Acadianna

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2012, 08:29:13 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.

snowdragon

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2012, 08:33:28 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

HorseFreak

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2012, 08:53:45 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. 

kherbert05

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2012, 08:54:51 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.
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Venus193

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2012, 08:59:43 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.

Iris

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2012, 10:57:54 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.
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gmatoy

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2012, 12:32:21 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.

And that, my friend, is why you are a good neighbor!

Isometric

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2012, 12:53:16 AM »
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)

Erich L-ster

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2012, 02:02:54 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!

lovepickles

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2012, 03:32:03 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.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2012, 07:16:37 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.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Bexx27

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2012, 07:28:11 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.
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gorplady

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2012, 07:54:32 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.