The best thing I saw this Halloween…
It wasn’t quite dark yet but the sun was beginning to set. I sat on the steps with my friend at his house. His daughters are friends with mine and he really enjoys this holiday. The girls were trick or treating with the moms and we stayed behind.
To our left was a 10 foot creature screaming and holding a baby doll upside down while shaking it back and forth. To the right was a spider that approaches you and a dog that barks at you and jumps out at you as you pass. On the driveway a zombie baby was crawling all around. There were at least three smoke machines. These were all cool props but what interested me the most about sitting in that spot was watching how each parent of a small child approached the house or in some cases… ran the other way.
Some crossed the street and never let their child even look in the direction of the house. Some walked briskly by, arms wrapped around their child as if to protect them from real danger. Some didn’t say a word and let the child decide how to handle it, which usually meant they made it up near the scary witch with the bowl of candy, took too much of it and were very happy to be on their way.
And then there was my favorite. The little shark. He was about 3 years old and timid enough to mostly avoid the other scary props, while not showing any real fear but also not approaching them head on. I watched mom watch him almost touch the scary doll on the first step up to the house but he changed his mind and quickly moved on to the bowl of candy. The bowl was a few steps past me and held onto by a scary looking (but still and quiet) witch.
He inched his way up and I smiled at him and asked where the rest of his shark family was. His mother came up the steps behind him. And then she did it and made my day. She stepped right on the pad attached to the witch that said STEP HERE, with full knowledge that she was about to scare the you know what out of her child. He jumped, showed signs of tearing up and looked right at me.
“Are you a real shark,” I asked him?
“No,” he replied and looked back at the witch.
“Well that’s not a real witch!” I exclaimed, hoping he would see my point.
His mom smiled at me and the little shark seemed to get it. I was so happy that the mother used this opportunity to teach her son that it’s ok to be scared. He got through it. He also will start to learn that a lot of scary things he sees are not real at all. It was a great and unplanned teachable moment and I was so happy to see this parent and many others let their children make their way through the scary lawn at their own pace.