A Smile on Children’s Faces

Wednesday, 31 October 2007 at 5:00 am Pacific USA Time.

One of my neighbours is overdecorating the area outside his apartment door for Halloween. It now has more cobwebs than I’ve ever seen, a coffin wrapped in chains, a spooky fence, a decapitated head hanging from a real apartment complex tree, a huge skeleton, a skeletal and bloody devil clown surrounded by bloody fake cobwebs, half a sinewy skeleton made to look like it’s trying to push its way out of the ground, a skull on a stake, a tombstone with battery-powered hands that seem to be coming out of the ground and scratching at the stone, a scary sign, and lots more. Yeah I wasn’t done listing what he’s put outside his apartment door.

I asked him if he were trying to win our apartment’s Halloween decoration contest. Nope, he said. It’s for the kids. I said that nothing’s good for kids like good old blood, death, and destruction. He said, "It puts a smile on their faces." I offered to pay for their therapy. I’ve seen his kids, and I’m guessing they are age 1.5 (girl), age 3 (boy), and age 4 (boy). The guy is out there setting this up with a buddy, and I think they’re really having fun. But is this age appropriate?

Sometimes, people are crying out that video games, movies, and TV programmes desensitise kids to violence. How about the decorations we put up at Halloween? When I was a kid in the 1970’s, I remember most Halloween decorations being cardboard prints of an ugly witch on a broom stick with a black cat and the moon behind her. Now, my supermarket sells a tombstone with hands coming out of the ground that really move and claw at the tombstone. In the 1970’s, a kid dressed up as a kitty cat. Now, you can dress up as "sexy pirate" even if you’re age 11.

I have no idea what kinds think when they see this. Are they scared? Are they not scared? Are they haunted by this? What do they really think of the severed head in the tree? Would they think the same of a real severed head in a tree? Do the think cutting off a head is a fun thing that’ll bring a smile to their faces? I have no idea. When did we decide that children needed to decorate their homes (supposedly a safe place) with symbols of death, mutilation, torture, undeadness :), and fear? This just can’t be good for the soul.

I just think we can do better.

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Categories: Just An Observation

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