Halloween decorations gone too far? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Halloween was awful for us this year. I already do not like Halloween because how over the top people have gone here. The majority of the people here do not celebrate in ways I grew up knowing of, as in, they do not trick or treat and such. I live in the bible belt and I know a lot of religions do not trick or treat here. But of those who do participate in trick or treating here, some of them went over board on the creepy disgusting themes in their yards. I called my old friend from back home and she said they do not see it there. Plus, my sister in Minneapolis also said it is not like this there.

Basically, we only went 2 blocks and gave up. Our street has 7 houses, 2 did trick or treating. The street in front of us had 2 houses doing trick or treating and behind us had more, maybe 5 houses, it is a longer street with more houses. We did not go any further than this. One house had a dismembered body in the front yard with body parts sticking out of the ground. Another had beheaded body hanging from a noose. It also had a skeleton on the ground laid out like it was trying to get people and had smoke coming out of its mouth. There was also the cemetary theme with spiders and such.

There were no young children out trick or treating. The youngest was school age. Half the kids were teens who were not really in costume. Of the costumes there were, other than my own children, everyone else went as horror themes. One child was a chucky doll, that was the youngest one I saw and he was about the size of my 6 yr old. There were some kids with Jason marks and a lot as vampires with blood oozing down the faces. There was one Luigi. I felt sorry for that little boy as he was running behind his teenaged sisters trying to keep up, totally ignored.

We were not out long and we only went to the streets in front of us and behind, so not like we saw the entire neighborhood. My grandmother is here visiting and she is staying with my parents. I called my parents and they mostly had teens and even adults with no costumes with bags trick or treating.

So my question is, is Halloween like this where you are at? I just do not think it is OK to do a rated R horror scene in your front yard. Especially when you know small children might come around trick or treating. I wonder if it is the horror themes that led to people not bringing their small children out. One neighbor, a nice older lady, had cute casper looking blow up ghosts hanging from her trees, which I think is ok. But she said her little granddaughters, who are 5 and 2, ended up at a house in town where when they got to the door, there was a corpse with the entrails all coming out and the small children were expected to step over it to get their treats. Apparently, it was quite disgusting and the mom did not see it there until she was up to the door and her small children had already seen it.

Anyway, my 6 yr old had to sleep with us last night because he woke up with horrible nightmares about what he saw on Halloween.

If you don't mind, let me know if it is like this where you are at, and a slight idea where you are at if you do not mind (i.e. major metropolitan area, south, rural area, or even state, etc) I am just curious if this is a Texas thing, a south thing, a big city thing, etc.
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#2 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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Yuck! It's not that bad here in my neighborhood. There aren't a lot of houses that give out treats. The worst would be what looks like bones coming out of the lawn. We went ToTing in my sister's neighborhood, in north NJ. There was one house that was over the top with zombies hanging out the windows and animatronics (zombie type with turning heads and glowing eyes). Last year, ds skipped that house but this year he went. Some people giving out treats were dressed kind of scary but most weren't.

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#3 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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We live in a small town in WI, and we love Halloween - it is one of our favorite holidays. Everyone is out in our neighborhood, everyone is happy and socializing, and the decorations and costumes really run the gamut.

Usually, there are one or two houses that are too scary for the kids - since there are so many houses decorated, it isn't a big deal - we just skip the ones the kids don't want to go to. For the past couple years, the house across the street from us is one of the 'too scary' ones. My kids are fascinated with it, and like to stand out on the sidewalk in front of our house and look at it, but they don't really want to get any closer. I think it has triggered a nightmare or two, but for the most part they're OK with it - they know it is just plastic.

As for costumes, there are some really scary, gruesome ones, and lots of the standards - Star Wars characters, princesses, toddlers dressed up as animals, etc. And then there are always a few teenagers who don't appear to be dressed up - whatever. I'm just glad they're taking the candy so I'm not tempted to eat it myself later.
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#4 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 12:37 PM
 
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I was reading your post and thinking, that sounds so cool! I wish our neighborhood decorated more.

I think I would draw the line at entrails, but the skeleton stuff sounds fine to me.

I think we live in the same city though.

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#5 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 12:43 PM
 
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We live in a quiet subdivision. We had tons of trick or treaters. There were a lot of zombies and vampires, but they're pretty trendy right now. No decorations whatsoever. I think part of the reason people go over the top is because there's no meaning attached to the holidays, so they don't really know where to start or stop. Is it for the kids to get candy? Is it for adults to dress up in hyper sexual outfits and go to parties? What IS it for, anyway, and how should celebrations be directed? I'm not totally sure about this, but I relate Halloween to El Dia de los Muertos. It's around the same time of year, and there's a big death theme. However, in North America, there is no quiet observance of past ancestors, just a reliance on the symbols (ie skeletons and ghouls. When it becomes solely about symbols and candy, it's pretty easy to go over the top. I've also noticed a resurgence in past years of scary movies, books, etc, so there's no shortage of inspiration.

My pet peeve this halloween was (you guessed it) a Facebook comment! One mom was bemoaning all the candy and what was she going to do with it all, how was she going to prevent her children from becoming spinny little sugar monsters. Another suggested paying them money for it & then tossing it in the trash. And I thought to myself: why did I spend 20 bucks on candy that's going to be rebought by the parents and added to the landfill? I could have just given them some money and saved everyone the hassle (not to mention charade).
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#6 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 12:45 PM
 
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We loved the decorations around here. There are some that go overboard on the creepy side but my dd isn't disturbed by them. Maybe next year will go better if you decide to give it another try. You could also use this as a reason to not trick or treat and to do something else like a harvest party at a church. My dd had a huge shift in how she handles these things around the time she turned seven.
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#7 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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Our neighborhood is pretty fun. Decorations are things like jack o lanterns, homemade ghosts hanging from trees, etc. Some houses do silly/scary, like a skeleton dressed as a pirate, tombstones that say silly things, etc. One house managed a winnie the pooh themed yard, and I seriously wondered where they found that much pooh halloween stuff. Only one house was scary -- they had creepy music playing, a huge fake witch that jumped when you got close, etc.

The TorT'ers were ALL in costume, and ranged from very small chidlren to teens. About half the adults walking around with their kids were all dressed up or wearing fun hats or something.

I want to do MORE with our yard for next year. I'm already planning!

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#8 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 03:13 PM
 
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I think I may be in your city as well OP, Houston? Our neighbourhood had quite a few houses decorated, but pretty mild stuff, spider webs, little ghosts hanging in the trees, jack o'lanterns, scarecrows. The very scariest yard had some of those fake tombstones. Nothing R rated or graphic. We had a ton of kids and parents out, and the costumes we're mostly princesses, pirates, Star Wars characters etc. And I would say it was 90% little kids out, very few teenagers. My kids had a blast. It tends to be a very social event in the neighborhood too, all the adults hang out in the street and visit too.

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#9 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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There are houses here that go all out. There was one that _I_ wanted to go trick or treating at, but I knew that it would be way too scary for the kids.

Vampires and Zombies are really hot right now. I think that gory costumes were particularly popular these last couple of years because of Twilight, True Blood, Zombie Land, and the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies mashup book.

There was a zombie walk here, and I would have loved to have gone, but again, I know that it would have been too scary for the kids.

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#10 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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Our neighborhood goes all out. We had a whole range of kids-from itty bitty babes in arms up to a few teenagers. Most were between 4-8 though.

All the adults get involved and it is basically one big party. Our neighbor had a ghost that would swoop down on you as you came up the drive. It was way cool. Others did zombies or tombstones. One guy actually built an electric chair in his yard and sat in it and "zapped" himself. Then dry ice would pour out and he would throw candy out of the clouds of dry ice. The kids loved it.

ToT is from 6-8pm. Then we all meet at one neighbor's house and have a few beers and chili and wings around his fire pit and watch the kids run around and scare each other.
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#11 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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I actually don't mind most of it - the scary, really spooky stuff, and a bit of creepy is okay with me. I don't like the gross and gory - the corpse with entrails is over my personal line. I hate the rat-eating zombie heads that were big last year. I hate the decorations with maggots. Honestly, I like a mix of spooky/scary and campy. DS1 dripped fake blood down our front door...and then we hung a Halloween wreath with a jack-o-lantern and a very friendly looking ghost on it. I like that kind of thing.

My personal hate this year is for the zombie babies. As the mother of a son who was stillborn at term - and who I was in prodromal labour with on Halloween - I just can't handle them. They disgust me...but they also hurt me. I saw them in every store this year...but, thankfully, nobody in my neighbourhood decorated with them.

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#12 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 04:39 PM
 
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I am sorry you had a distressing time

We do like the scarry, and take pride in our California neighborhood that is in a forest, just outside of town, for having good, scary stuff. Our kids like it too, 4 & 7. There is one house in particular, the Freddie Cruger house, with person dressed as Freddie Cruger, and strobe lights. Last year when we went, ds just 3, he Freddie looked at me and jestered that he would not make a grab for my kid. 3 yo made a big circle around him, and could not wait to see him this year.

There is also the spider house, with big black stuffed spiders in the trees and lawn. Then there is the gross house, with skeloton whitches hung etc.

We actually went on drives and walks looking for the scarry before Holloween this year. Quite fun for the kiddies.
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#13 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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My personal hate this year is for the zombie babies. As the mother of a son who was stillborn at term - and who I was in prodromal labour with on Halloween - I just can't handle them. They disgust me...but they also hurt me. I saw them in every store this year...but, thankfully, nobody in my neighbourhood decorated with them.[/QUOTE]

I saw those at the Halloween store. I found them to be disgusting and offensive. Really horrible. I'm sorry for your loss.

SAHM to 3 girls
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#14 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 06:50 PM
 
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My neighborhood really gets into it. Most of the decorations are pretty tame and more creative than creepy. For example, I have fun ghosts that line our walkway then we lit up our entire house (interior lights) in different colors: red, blue, purple and green. From the outside it looked really cool! The creepiest one I saw was the skeleton coming out of the ground thing. DS (4) said "oh cool" and kept walking.

However, one house had a motorized rat in a rat trap on the step. When it moved my husband jumped about 3 feet in the air. Priceless!

I have a LOT of candy left. Not sure what to do with it.
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#15 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 06:52 PM
 
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I did not like Halloween this year. I have a 2.5 y/o DD and I thought I was going to reduce her candy consumption by having her stay home and greet trick or treaters. There were tons of older kids trick or treating with really gruesome and gross costumes, and my daughter got pretty freaked out. I was allowed to see some things as a small child that I wasn't ready for and I think it really affected my psyche -- tons of nightmares, fears, etc. I think I should have shielded my daughter better, frankly. I am new to this area (small city in Canada), and was expecting to see more cuddly ladybugs and less really gruesome serial killer costumes on thirteen year olds! I also got a bit choked having my candy being evaluated as I stood there (we are super low income right now and candy was an expense....). Well lesson learned.
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#16 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by new2texas View Post
My personal hate this year is for the zombie babies. As the mother of a son who was stillborn at term - and who I was in prodromal labour with on Halloween - I just can't handle them. They disgust me...but they also hurt me. I saw them in every store this year...but, thankfully, nobody in my neighbourhood decorated with them.
I saw those at the Halloween store. I found them to be disgusting and offensive. Really horrible. I'm sorry for your loss.[/QUOTE]

Me too, about the baby that died. I find this all particularly offensive and was thinking of my son who died shortly after halloween and how when I go to the cemetary, I like to not think of him as a decomposing zombie. I had a premature baby that died as a baby without coming home and I also had a baby born still 4 yrs ago.
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#17 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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What one considers too much or not enough is a personal opinion. People should celebrate how THEY feel like whether it is all out gore, doing nothing at all or in between. Nobody forces anyone to go to a house for candy.

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I also got a bit choked having my candy being evaluated as I stood there (we are super low income right now and candy was an expense
I buy the little bags & put 3-4 things in it & staple them shut. The bags are $.99 for 80. It makes it quite easy to just plop a bag in & they can't look at what is inside until they are gone. Many people do the little bags so they won't know unless they stop after every house & do a check.

I don't see a huge difference in decorations & costumes from when I was T & T'ing 20 years ago. There may be a few more houses which are done up scarier but the only difference there is they're buying things instead of making them. The costumes are about the same. When I was in Grade 7/8 in the late 80's there were girls dressing up at prostitutes.
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#18 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 07:23 PM
 
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I wonder if it's just neighborhoods w/ older kids? My street is mostly under 10's and so everyone's decorations are pretty much of the cutesy-scary variety. We have a hanging skeleton (my 5 y/o's insistence.) and I think that's one of the more gruesome decorations this year. However, a couple of blocks away they've gone all out w/ fake graveyards, half-buried corpses, etc. I think that's a neighborhood w/ older kids. I'm beyond certain that my boys will talk me into scarier decor as they get older.

I have to say, as far as Halloween decorations go, I agree that it's over the top now, but IMHO it's just businesses co-opting another holiday to sell us cr*p we don't need. All this stuff just wasn't available when I was a child--like those silly blow-up things you tether in your yard--I swear, there's at least one on every block.

I'm in NTX btw.
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#19 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 07:29 PM
 
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Um its halloween, thats the point of halloween.

If it bothers you/your kids, then go to a little kid friendly neighborhood or stay home.
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#20 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 07:50 PM
 
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In our area, there's some trick or treating - very benign decorations from what I've seen. But they have "trunk or treating" where people in town get together in a parking lot (I've seen this in several places where I have lived - church parking lots, school parking lots, this last one was near a town's rodeo grounds.). They pass out candy from the trunks of their cars or the backs of their vans or trucks. Other places have parties for the kids. There are a lot fewer trick or treaters than when I was a child.

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#21 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 08:27 PM
 
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I'm in a small city in Canada ~100,000 people.

A group in our neighbourhood gets together and plans something scary every year for Halloween. I love it.

I think people should be able to decorate and celebrate how they choose. Even if it is too scary or gory or tasteless for little kids.

When our kids are little, and prone to getting scared, we just take them to ToT at the houses we know. And we take them out early, when things are just getting started.
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#22 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 08:27 PM
 
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I don't see a huge difference in decorations & costumes from when I was T & T'ing 20 years ago. There may be a few more houses which are done up scarier but the only difference there is they're buying things instead of making them. The costumes are about the same. When I was in Grade 7/8 in the late 80's there were girls dressing up at prostitutes.
I've heard people say this before. I don't think decorations are much scarier or creepier than they were when I was a trick-or-treater (30 years ago). I do think they're a lot gorier...and just more...gross. I don't even know what else to call it. I really don't like the maggots and stuff, and there seem to be more of that style of decoration every year.

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#23 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 08:58 PM
 
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There are scary themes around here same sort of scary decorations. But there are 1000's of people young and old who dress up and have a good ol time parading and trick or treating. A local dance school has preformed Thriller after the parade for the last 2 years it is soo much fun! Family fun 'cept for the sugar crashes!
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#24 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 09:45 PM
 
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I'm in the Dallas area. We did exactly one street- our own. 2/3 of the people did not participate. Of those who did about half had gory decor and half had cutesy. The severed foot bugged my three year old, but he was otherwise ok.

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#25 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 10:26 PM
 
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It has most definitely gotten gorier in the last 40 years! They didn't sell the stuff that's available now.

When I took my kids out, the gory stuff wasn't where we were (not 40 years ago - they weren't born yet - but between 16 years ago and a couple of years ago), but we were living in very rural areas.
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#26 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 11:34 PM
 
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I think people can go too far. The gore is in very, very poor taste, IMO. That doesn't mean i think I should stop people or even discourage them, but I do judge people who think that kind of thing is funny or cool.

I think the creepy, spooky and just plain scary stuff is all in good fun. Older kids love that kind of thing.

For the last few years, it's been hard for me not to grump around Halloween, because my NEXT DOOR neighbor loves the gore. He seems to think, the more shocking, the better, so it gets worse and worse every year. It's hard to hear my young child ask why that man's head is in the lawn mower, even if it's just pretend. He points to a graveyard where there are little demons (?) eating body parts and asks what those babies are eating (they really do look like babies). There is also a little demonic-looking skeleton about the size of a baby, riding in a baby stroller! It's just sick. And you can see it all from my front window. He has some really neat, scary stuff, too, and I wish he would just stick with that, which is way more creative and interesting than the let's-see-how-gross-we-can-get-just-to-shock-people stuff.
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#27 of 47 Old 11-02-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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My husband and I are not big on Halloween. We took the kids ToTing in my grandmother's neighborhood. At the beginning they were begging for the "creepy house from last year". I didn't go with them last year so I had no idea. When we got there there were three real people: two in the yard and one at the door. The first one we came to was dressed as a zombie and was standing in a mock grave yard. There was a strobe light in the area. My four year old walked right up to him and opened his bag! The zombie started chewing on a bloody foot and then offered my son a bite. DS shook his head no and went to this next guy. He had his back to us (so I don't know how he looked) but he extended his arm and pointed towards the door. My little man got his candy from a witch(?) and returned back to us. He was laughing hysterically that "the guy wanted him to eat foot". It's the latest joke in our house now- "candy or foot?", said in your best zombie voice of course.

My kids really surprised me because that stuff would have totally freaked me out as a kid but they love it. We're still debating what to do about Halloween next year. I'm not crazy about all the candy in the house and I don't want my kids to dress scary. The older ones really want scary costumes though.
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#28 of 47 Old 11-03-2010, 12:02 AM
 
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Our area is pretty small, but a street and a couple friend houses were just right for my little ones anyway. Only one place was scary, and we walked past and when they started to do the scary thing I told them my kids were a bit scared, so they stopped and then when we came back past they were really friendly and nice trying to help my kids not be scared!

The people giving out candy were so nice and they were excited to see our kids (some said they had mostly seen teens and were happy to see littles).

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#29 of 47 Old 11-03-2010, 12:11 AM
 
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I totally agree with R.L. Stine on this one. Grownups taking over Halloween is the scariest aspect of modern Halloween. R.L. Stine, the kids-scary-story-master thinks gore-fest adult Halloween is lame and uncreative: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/opinion/31stine.html

When I was a kid, there wasn't much gore, there were 3-4 houses out of 20 that were "too scary" for little kids and you knew that from street level. It was a right of passage to be brave enough to go up. No one thought it was "fun" to give little kids nightmares. And we never gave out candy to adults or teens, especially those not in costume.

Now I'm in New York City. Actually less gore than in previous years here. We have few homes that can decorate at street level though, ours is all stores, and they apparently got the messages from customers that we won't come in if you put real gore.

The Halloween pop up shops have tons of gore of course, but they also had, today, looked like still-full shops. I bought a few kids discounted costumes (75% off, hoorah) for Christmas presents. The woman in the store said they had "a bad year, especially the kids stuff." I did say that I couldn't have come in their store with my kids in tow, so we didn't choose our costumes there. Money talks, so who knows, maybe next year they'll have a kids section that actual kids can get to without stepping over zombie baby flotsam, which appears to have been a non-starter on sales anyway.

We have the Village Halloween parade, biggest in the country, and then a little kids parade earlier in the day. The big parade is gigantic and DD just went for part of it for the first time this year. It's much more about creativity than mindless gore. And there was only one inappropriately gory costume at the little kids parade/festival that I saw. Conveniently, the teen was too big for any of the rides or bouncy castle, and the people running them enforced that and told him no. I don't think he stayed long.

I would recommend scouting out a neighborhood with young kids nearby, OP. Scout out houses you know; maybe arrange a group with little kids to trick or treat to one another's houses with kid-friendly decor. Or put on your own Halloween party with friends, which could be very cool.

Happy with my DH, 2 kids, dog, fish, and frogs
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#30 of 47 Old 11-03-2010, 12:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Rosebud1 View Post
I did not like Halloween this year. I have a 2.5 y/o DD and I thought I was going to reduce her candy consumption by having her stay home and greet trick or treaters. There were tons of older kids trick or treating with really gruesome and gross costumes, and my daughter got pretty freaked out. I was allowed to see some things as a small child that I wasn't ready for and I think it really affected my psyche -- tons of nightmares, fears, etc. I think I should have shielded my daughter better, frankly. I am new to this area (small city in Canada), and was expecting to see more cuddly ladybugs and less really gruesome serial killer costumes on thirteen year olds! I also got a bit choked having my candy being evaluated as I stood there (we are super low income right now and candy was an expense....). Well lesson learned.
Rosebud, I bet your candy made a lot of littles happy! When my 3 yo goes through his stash, he turns up his nose at the candy bars and goes straight for the cheaper stuff- sweettarts, gold coins, gummies, etc. Made his day!
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