Raising kids with learning disabilities sometimes means that the world, just as it is, can be a scary place. When the horror film “Annabelle” came out, one of our ] stations started running ads for it while we were watching Star Trek at around 5:00PM. Chris and I had seen this preview in the theater and I had my hands OVER MY EYES the whole time. Needless to say, we quite perturbed when we saw it on during a fairly tame show so early in the day – probably because October means that cable stations give free reign to every horror movie ad they can. Naturally, we fumbled with the remote but Amelia saw way too much of this commercial. At school and at home, she reacted by placing pillows in front of a closed door (there is a scene where the lady looks under a closed door to see what the possessed doll is doing).
This is so frustrating! Just because Halloween is coming, doesn’t mean we need to run horror themes, commercials and ads over everything. Personally, as a kid I always loved Halloween because it meant dressing up in pretty or fun costumes, walking through leaves collecting candy from the neighbors, staying outside late (8:00!) and only 7 more days until my birthday. But by my teen years, “Friday the 13” kicked off a series of horror films, people started putting razor blades in apples, and it all changed from a time to dress up and play to a “night of terror.”
I think it’s time for families to take back the month of October. What can we do? Our kids want to have fun and when they see everyone else collecting candy, going to parties and playing dress up. There’s no reason kids who are scared or nervous about the holiday should not have the ability to do the same within reason. Here are some ways to enjoy a fear free Halloween:
1. Avoid the horror.
Even kid shows can be scary! My daughter not only is terrified of “Annabelle,” she has an unhealthy fascination with “Coraline,” which keeps her up at night. And while I loved sharing “Frankenweenie” with her (we both cried like babies), it still has that spooky if kitchy vibe. “Paranorman” is pretty much a zombie film for kids, and “Monster House” is truly scary. Even the “Hotel Transylvania” series has scary moments for kids, and please avoid “Scared Shrekless,” which pokes fun at terrifying films like “The Exorcist.” “Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkin” is also too much for sensitive kids – and it SHOULD be! God created children as innocent and getting a taste of evil from these films can be harmful. I completely regret ever letting Amelia watch “Coraline,” no matter how “great” a story it supposedly is. In fact, mainstream Halloween fare for kids is by and large over the top, and if you watch it on a regular TV station, is peppered with candy commercials aimed at getting your child to eat junk. Maybe it’s just better to keep the TV off until Christmas season LOL!
This season is a tough one because there is advertising all around. So, keep your children off conventional television. Instead, selectively watch shows, as a family and when you allow your kids screen time, on a service like Netflix so you can avoid the commercials. Another thing: avoid Halloween and party stores. Usually, a big nasty display of Death or some other ghoul is towering 7 feet tall in the entrance. This scared the snot out of Zoe once and we stopped costume shopping with her. That means, you need to take care of where and when scary stuff is being displayed and avoid it and do things like buy costumes online.
2. Organize costume events with like-minded parents.
Do trick or treating in a limited area, like where parents have little ones, and agree to avoid scary costumes and intimidating decorations, or go to a trunk or treat at your local church. Kids can dress up as lots of fun characters that are not scary but DO build up their imagination! There are lots of fun, God-centered things you can do with your children. Here are some costume ideas and activities:
Be a Superhero
If your child loves superheroes, unleash his power by letting him dress up as whoever motivates him. Amelia wore that costume until it fell apart and is now keen on being Wonder Woman. To me, she is a super hero! Family Christian sent me some great products to help me help my kids, like this The Action Bible:
Feed that passion for comic books by sharing a comic version of the Bible with your child- that will get her attention! The Action Bible and The Action Bible Devotional: 52 Weeks of God-Inspired Adventure is jam packed with a comic interpretation of everything from Adam and Eve to Revelation. Or, check out Super Heroes of the Bible, for a look at what comic books can reveal about faith.
- ColorUP Model Magic Single Pack Natural Colors, Noah’s Ark
- ColorUP Model Magic Single Packs Primary Colors, David and Goliath
- ColorUP Model Magic Single Pack White, Jonah and the Great Fish
Try on a Swashbuckling Adventure!
I promise, Disney sold that costume as “Peter Pan,” which is a character Amelia adores to this day. She looks more like Robin Hood to me, though. Either way, kids can have an adventure. Life is not meant to be static, especially the Christian life! If you want more wholesome fare for the kids to watch, check out:
“The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe [Blu-ray]” – buy or or stream. C.S. Lewis is clear as day with what he’s trying to say, and I just love this film! Yea, he’s on my “must meet” list for heaven…
And don’t forget, the Bible is an adventure too:
Rule Your Castle
Who doesn’t love being a princess? Well, my kids ADORE IT, and know what? Christian kids actually are princes and princesses! So go with it. The Melissa & Doug Princess Alyssa Wooden Dress-Up Doll and Stand – 34 Magnetic Accessories from Melissa & Doug is a great way to teach kids motor skills and how to mix and match clothing too.
And have fun teaching your child about God’s kingdom with a princess doll, aptly named “Joy.”
3. View this season as an opportunity.
You know what overcomes fear? God. God is bigger than anyone, and anything. After all, He was the One who created it all! When I moved I was a stay at home mom in a new home and town, my husband left home for work in the wee hours. Every sound, tick, crack in that house, even the cat jumping about, scared the snot out of me. I often would put the light on at 4am, waiting for Amelia to get up for her feeding, I was so scared of the dark.
It was only after I started reading my Bible in those dark hours that I learned that as Christians, WE have nothing to be afraid of. We need to learn not to open the door to give the Enemy a foothold, true, but once we have the confidence that we serve a mighty God who loves us, takes care of us and is the Author of ALL things, we can relax. Fear starts to fall away. Little by little at times, but when you feel His handing holding you up, what need we fear?
Halloween is the perfect time to teach your children these truths that can protect them from fear and terror. Read them Psalm 27 and they will start to understand that their Father in heaven is protecting them from all evil.
I wish you and your family a faith filled, fear free Halloween! Enjoy this song, that reminds Who is standing beside us: