I Realize It’s Halloween, But Please Stop Trying To Scare My Toddler

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I realize that it’s the time of witches and jack o’ lanterns. I know grown adults are excited about the opportunity to decorate with ghosts and goblins. Spider webs are finally appreciated instead of cleared away with the broom. For everyone who ever loved horror movies, Halloween is like being a kid all over again. They get to visit haunted houses, jails and hotels. They get to smear fake blood across their cheeks like a soldier going into battle. Can’t you hear the shrieks already?

Listen, I’m not trying to rain on this zombie-parade. I understand that you enjoyed Halloweens 3 through 6. I’m not judging you for that. But I have one request as we come upon the spookiest holiday. Please stop trying to terrify my three-year-old.

I know you think it’s all in good fun. I get that you’re just going about your business, celebrating All Hallows Eve. Fine. I’m not going to bring my little girl to your house to see severed hands in the front lawn. We’re not going to attend your costume party in her adorable Wonder Woman gear. We’re trying to stay away from you. But if you run into us on the street or at the Zoo Halloween, which is geared towards young kids by the way, stop trying to horrify her!

Last year, as my daughter was skipping around in her puppy dog costume, a grown woman with a painted face, fake teeth and blood spattered all over literally jumped out from behind a tree and scared the living daylights out of my then-two-year-old daughter. Honestly, my little girl was shaking in fear and crying hysterically and this woman just laughed and laughed. Apparently, my costume wasn’t hiding my shock at this behavior and she quickly explained, “It’s Halloween! It’s all about being scared!” No, my dear, for the ten and under set, it’s not really about peeing your pants with fright. It’s supposed to be a little more fun than that.

It wasn’t just the adults that got into the  over-the-top toddler-terrifying last year. A friend’s son was going for a rather realistic ghost, I think. His face was painted all white, but with dark circles around his eyes and blood dripping from his mouth. The older boy kept reaching his hands out and chasing my little girl, who was screaming at the sight of him and literally clinging to my leg. When I finally got tired of it and reprimanded the boy, his mother told me, “I’m sorry but this is kind of what we were going for. He wanted his costume to be scary.” Really lady? You were trying to make young children cry? What great goals to set for your kid.

It’s the time of year to be spooky. Grown adults are welcome to act terrifying and watch as much Freddy Krueger as they please. But there are young children out there, simply trying to get a little candy and wear a princess or fireman costume. They don’t need to have nightmares until Christmas because you think it’s funny to petrify them. Maybe around the single-digit set, you could tone it down just a bit. Refrain from roaring or growling in their direction. I know it’s a holiday, but try to remember that at any other time of the year, you wouldn’t want a kid to see all the fake gore or scary monsters. We try to protect our kids from that, and it doesn’t change simply because the date is October 31st.