A Gory Halloween Display Too Scary for Kiddies?

Halloween horror for kids
Where do halloween displays cross the line?

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.

Image: flickr/barelyfits

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