How to desensitize your children to their natural fear of deadly monsters

Some years ago, we added a spookity battery-operated ghoul-thingy to our sparse Halloween display. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was on sale.

The thing is, it had a motion detector that made it shake and laugh maniacally when you walked near. Naturally, we were concerned this might freak out our very young children.

So we staged an introduction, like a couple of adoption agents showing three little children their new father for the first time.

Us: “Kids, look what we bought for Halloween. Ooh, isn’t it spooky looking? But he isn’t spooky, really. He’s nice. He’s funny.”

Kids: Skeptical looks.

Us: “He’s just laughing, see? He must think something is funny!”

Kids: “…”

Us: “He’s just a silly, silly man. Let’s call him … Peter. Yeah, his name is Peter. You’re not scared of Peter, are you?”

Kids: “Heh … Peter? Heh. Hi, Peter.”

It worked. The name Peter totally robbed this disgusting monster of all its menace. Now we have the least scary array of Halloween decorations in our house, from Peter the ghoul to Pat the ghost, and these beasts hold absolutely no sway over our children.

Let us pray the Zombie Apocalypse doesn’t happen in the next decade or my children will probably run willy-nilly into those open and waiting zombie arms.

“I like this one! He’s silly! Let’s call him Steve. Maybe he likes to play … AIGGH! MY BRAIN!”

Youngest Daughter show Peter who's boss. Next we'll be reprogramming her illogical fear of rattlesnakes.

Youngest Daughter shows Peter who's boss. Next we'll be reprogramming her illogical fear of rattlesnakes.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “How to desensitize your children to their natural fear of deadly monsters

  1. Anneke

    I need to do this. Emmett is starting to get freaked out over “spooky” things. Sadly, he applies this lable to everything: napkins = spooky, socks = spooky, pillow = spooky. Now all I need is a baby name book and some labels so I can remember everyone’s friendly nonspooky names.

    As a total aside, Spencer had a huge fear of those bowls with the hands in the middle. The kind that folds over and grabs you when you go for the candy. Three years in the Halloween aisles at Target with me stiffling the giggles as he crept in terror around the candy bowl display.

    • jdrewscott

      Please, please use Spencer as a case study for a pet theory of mine: The degree of fear of the macabre in a young male is directly proportional to the degree of fascination of the macabre in the male as an adult.

      Please get back to me in 10 years.

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