When I was a kid, my dad used to stuff a pair of pants and a flannel shirt with leaves, attach a ghoulish mask, tie a noose around its neck and hang the whole lifeless body from the tree in the front yard. Too much? I didn’t think so as a kid — I have fond memories of hauling out the supplies from the closet, raking and stuffing the leaves.
But in a UK town, a local party shop has a halloween display that parents complain is horrifying and way too graphic for kids. Meanwhile, by most accounts, the kids are giggling and curious about it. Entertained or traumatized? Are severed heads, nooses and so forth too much? Now that I have a kid who is old enough to be aware and potentially scared, I’m curious about this.
But if there is such a thing as too much, the UK display might be it. Here’s the description:
“Hanging heads…a killer chef and bloody body parts,” are the window display of the shop. The local paper declined to include a full photo, so we can’t see it for our own eyes, but I get the idea.
In my neighborhood, we’re already running into little skeletons and so forth — excited kids wearing their halloween gear. My son is two and I can see him staring, the wheels turning. Sometimes he wants to be picked up and he’s like a koala bear on me, but most of the time he’s just fascinated.
I think scary displays and gruesome goblins can make a big impression on kids — I remember spooky times in my childhood pretty well, they definitely stick out — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, is it? Scared is just a feeling like any other, maybe it’s only bad if our kids don’t have anyone there to explain or help them make sense of it.
Then again, if I was with my son and I saw a disturbing bloody limb display in a shop window, I would cross the street.
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