Thinking Twice Before Letting the Halloween Frights Into Your Life
Screams and howls filled the night air around us. My daughter’s and son’s figures bobbed ahead of me, along with their friends, and I brought up the rear of our pack, each clutching our section of a worn piece of rope, like a lifeline- the only tangible item that kept our group of ten together through our pitch black journey into the woods. Then, almost right next to me, a sturdy figure thundered out of the woods, brandishing a chainsaw. My heart leapt into my mouth. The chainsaw roared to life and he charged at our group….
The above actually happened at a haunted walk I took the kids on a Halloween night at Rainbow Springs State Park a few years ago, where live actors- local volunteers actually, hung out on their haunted walk trail to scare the dickens out of the groups of souls who dared enter. Besides chainsaw man, there were pyromaniacs, witches, moss monsters, and zombies who swarmed us. My kids loved it. I was not as enamored. I had thought this would be trick or treating at a park, and the zombie swarm reminded me a bit too much about the parts of my India adventure that I would rather forget.
Yes, I confess, I am a Halloween chicken. I went to a haunted house years ago- it was supposed to be a derelict hospital actually- at Six Flags over Georgia with my best friend. Live actors played the walking dead and gore, blood splattered victims – it was insanely gross and I hated it. I was glad when it was over and we could go onto the fun stuff: like riding roller coasters. There is too much trauma already in the world, why on earth would I invite more inside?
I started writing this post as a list of haunted houses and horror nights in Florida and Georgia- and there are quite a few. Every theme park in the area offers some sort of gore and guts. Except Walt Disney World (Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween) and SeaWorld (Halloween Spooktacular), who have maintained their family friendly status (thank you!) But visiting the websites of the others became disturbing to me. Graphic images, blood and gore. I don’t even watch television shows like that! There was no way I could in a clear conscience link to those places. So I didn’t. I chose to keep this a family friendly website.
You don’t need guts and gore to be scary. A dark room, an unknown sound, a shadow, a trick of lighting all with your own imagination can be just as frightening as any graphic image. Keep that in mind before you take your child into a haunted house. Ask yourself: Are they mentally ready for a scare? Are you? Are they mature enough to know that it is not real? Or will they have nightmares over the experience for years to come?
My kids are older and I can hear them groaning in the background. “Mom, we like to be scared!” I’ll just smile and nod sagely, this wisdom coming from one who had a chilling encounter with a famous St. Augustine ghost. Yeah, real life can be pretty scary anyway, why invite the Halloween gore?