“Shut your mouth!” the crowd exclaims in unison.
“How can children not enjoy a holiday, where they can play dress up and receive copious amounts of free candy?” you ask.
Apparently, some kids are afraid of the dark and/or monsters and can experience extreme fears of the holiday far into grade school. Before motherhood, I wouldn’t have believed it, but I have firsthand observed children – due to their overly creative minds and fueled by zombie commercials on the Disney Channel – who have such a fear of all things Halloween they have been knocked out of prime candy-retrieval position for years.
As a child, I remember being afraid that monsters would jump out at me in the middle of the night. That’s normal, right? There was that one time I was dreaming and thought I was being stalked by Scott Baio, but it turns out the poster of him at the foot of my bed was just bad Chachi placement on my part.
Believe it or don’t, but there’s a diagnosable phobia for the fear of Halloween. It’s called Samhainophobia – an obvious choice. Not quite sure how they came up with this catchy title, but I have a sneaking suspicion a gang of scoundrels picked on a guy named Sam Hain on October 31st. And after Sam was found screaming through Town Square in his pajamas with burned poo on his slipper, the gang made amends and named his anxiety after the one they bullied. But I could be wrong.
The first Halloween my girls went all “Sam Hain” down our street was when they were four and three. Most of the house decor was mild, but there was one that aimed to scare the Jujubes out the kids. The lighted ghouls flickered on their aluminum siding. A floating head in a fish bowl cackled when nearing the doorbell. The year before we had tried to get our sweet Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck to inch toward their porch, but that year they were brave and headed to meet the “nice neighbor who wanted to give them candy.”
I’m not sure if a curse word left my lips after the homeowner welcomed us because had I stopped breathing and the kids were screaming so loud I couldn’t hear anything. As my sweet daughters were running like their inner GPS was set to home, I was left alone on the porch with a man dressed as Frankenstein. I said, “Trick or Treat” dressed in my mom jeans, snatched a handful of mini Snickers for me, and thanked him with a shaking voice.
“You’re welcome,” came out of the man’s trachea device. The man who scared my kids was using a device shaped like an electric razor to speak with because he had lost his voice box. It was the kind of device one puts up to his chin to make his voice sound like a terrifying robot.
Really? If he had just come out with no decorations, no costume and dressed like Santa Claus, he would have scarred my children. Thanks for torturing my children for your pleasure.
We moved from that neighborhood, not because of the dear man who lost his vocal chords and his ability to judge what is appropriate for young children, but because we were looking for a more kid centric environment.
Moving in November, we didn’t witness the Halloween antics until the next year. Don’t get me wrong; we love our neighborhood, the people and their sense of fun. But out of all the neighborhoods, we picked the one with the scariest yard decorations. There are several homes with people hanging by nooses from trees, graveyards with appendages reaching out, and decapitated men in coffins. These are some seriously talented, artistic thriller movie scenes.
I guess it’s only the month of October we have to alter our driving paths, and age will fix my girls’ fear; but until then, they will be passing out candy until the holiday becomes fun.
Until then, we won’t be getting sacks full of neighbor candy and my husband and I will have to curb our chocolate desires until November 1st. The day-after Halloween candy sales are amazing!