When I picked up my daughter from preschool today, her hair was all askew and she had loops of hair pulled out of her pigtails. I immediately knew that something had made her nervous or upset; pulling at her hair is one of the way she copes. Her teacher told me that they had read a book and some of the images had scared her. As soon as this was brought up, my daughter burst into tears and we had to go to a corner and calm down before we left.
I kind of hate Halloween. I like candy and I like cute costumes, but I hate the fear and gore and making light of horrible ways to die. I can't even take my little girls to get the mail right now because the house next to the mailboxes is decorated too scary. I guess if you're into that fear thing you can do it, but keep it to yourself please. I really hate it when people (often their own parents or family members) think it's funny to scare small children with masks or scary images at Halloween. And there's a weird sense of pride in not being scared of frightening things.
But one of the things I told my daughter when we came home is that it's okay to be scared--and when we are, we don't have to stay or keep looking at whatever is making us afraid. It's okay to be afraid: sometimes it's the spirit telling us that something is wrong, and we should never ignore that spirit. It's okay to be afraid: my daughter for one, is a sensitive soul and far from wanting to squelch that, I want to help her cultivate it. As she grows older, the things that scare her simply because she doesn't understand them will diminish. But I don't want her to lose the sensitivity that will help her be a compassionate human being. It's okay to be afraid: You don't have to pretend to like the gross or scary things that come around at Halloween just because a few people do and many people pretend to. I wish my teenage self had stood up for herself and refused to go to the haunted house that made her physically nauseous, but I'm glad that my young adult self finally had the sense to not care if everyone else was going and I was going to miss out on a good time. Because that's not my version of a good time.
Okay, rant over. Now for a sweet picture from last year of the fun part of Halloween. The cutest little Snoopy and Woodstock you've ever seen: