I love Halloween. And I love my daughter. And I love that my daughter loves Halloween.
But I always get frustrated this time of year, for a very specific reason.
Every October, I select a bunch of great movies for us to watch. Nothing overtly scary, of course. Strictly harmless, spooky/funny fare. Family-friendly flicks, all the way. Movies I’ve seen and assessed carefully for her. My girl can be
a total wuss a bit skittish about scary stuff, so I’m very mindful of that. I only choose movies that I know, for a fact, my daughter will love.
Her mother and I both pride ourselves on having a 100% perfect track record in this regard. We know this girl. Everything we’ve ever persuaded her to watch or read, she’s loved.
But to this day, the kid will still dig her heels in the ground when she thinks she might not like something, and nothing on Earth can make her budge no matter what we say.
Her mom claims it’s due to stubbornness, plain and simple. Our daughter has never liked the idea of having someone else pressure her to see anything, read anything, listen to anything, or do anything. Sure, yea, I get it. Fair enough.
I say it’s about trust. She doesn’t trust either of us, one bit. Despite an unbroken record of exposing her to stuff she later LOVES, there’s zero trust.
Make no mistake: I take this completely personally. Especially when it comes to fun Halloween movies. This is my area. I know what I’m doing. It’s not like I’m trying to make the kid sit through Carrie. My goal isn’t to make her become the first ever 11-year-old stroke victim. I just want the two of us to sit together and enjoy some good, classic movies and have non-traumatizing spookerific fun.
Here are the movies that, for random reasons, my daughter has refused to watch:
Beetlejuice (1988) 1 of 5I Say: "This is one of my favorites. You'll love it. Trust me. It's not scary. It's hilarious. You'll laugh the whole time."
She Says: "The main guy looks too scary. He's going to jump out at me a lot. Not seeing it."
Hocus Pocus (1993) 2 of 5I Say: "This is totally harmless and cute. The witches aren't scary at all. They're stumble around and do dumb things, and the kids in the movie make total fools of them in the end. Plus, there's a song! You'll love it!"
She Says: "I don't like their faces. The one on the right has a weird mouth and I heard they eat kids. Not seeing it."
The Addams Family (1991) 3 of 5I Say: "OK, for real. This movie is just good, gothy fun. You like goth stuff! You wore a costume just like Morticia last year for Halloween! You'll go crazy for this movie. There's a character called It who's all hair and another one called Thing who's a very cute hand. Trust me on this one."
She Says: "No way. Not doing it. The hand thing sounds way creepy and it'll give me nightmares about hands under my bed. Not seeing it."
The Corpse Bride (2005) 4 of 5I Say: "Seriously? You're going to veto this one? It's by the same guy who made "Nightmare Before Christmas." Which you LOVED after we made you watch it. This is just like that, only they don't have a ride for it at Disneyland."
She Says: "Nope. Bride looks weird. Too dark. Not seeing it."
Ghostbusters (1984) 5 of 5I Say: "Ok. LISTEN. This is a classic from my youth. If you don't watch this with me, I'm going to sell you on Craigslist to the first family of gypsies who makes a decent offer. I mean it."
She Says: "Big talker. I've heard about that big marshmallow guy. Not seeing it."