Author Topic: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary  (Read 12076 times)

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Two Ravens

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2012, 09:05:42 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.

WillyNilly

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2012, 09:29:51 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.

kakack

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2012, 10:51:06 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. 


magicdomino

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2012, 12:02:37 PM »
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.

gramma dishes

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2012, 12:25:04 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.

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

TheaterDiva1

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2012, 12:46:53 PM »
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).

bah12

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2012, 01:21:56 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.

Tabby Uprising

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2012, 01:52:38 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!

kherbert05

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2012, 09:04:17 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.
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magician5

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2012, 10:14:54 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!
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LifeOnPluto

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2012, 02:03:10 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.

magicdomino

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2012, 12:15:13 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

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2012, 03:58:11 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.




Iris

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2012, 05:57:52 PM »
^Sawed up people? Ewwwwwwww. Glad I'm not in your neck of the woods.
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snowdragon

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Re: Dear Prudence - Neighbor Says Halloween Decorations Are Too Scary
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2012, 11:01:56 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!