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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My older DD is terrified of Halloween due (I believe) to a traumatic run-in with a trick or treator who came to our door when DD was about a year and a half (A group of young adults with disabilities was being brought around the neighborhood. A yongg man dressed as Shrek hung back after the rest of his group and chaperones had started to walk away. He looked at DD, raised his Shrek fist, and growled. She instantly burst into tears. Of course, this boy didn't realize his behavior was inappropriate, but DD talked about it EVERY DAY for months afterword). Last year she refused to go trick or treating and was frightened by kids who came to the door in frightening costumes. This year she said she wants to spend Halloween in her bedroom so she won't get scared. It makes me so sad for her and we've discussed several options. One of which was to post a sign requesting that children in frightening costumes not come to the door (send a representative). For now, DD says she wants us to go out to eat or something so that we can be away from home for it all
Nevertheless, I wanted to post the little poem I wrote to ward off frightening costumers (and maybe raise consciousness around the neighborhood). Maybe it will help somebody. I was going to chalk it on our driveway and/or post a large sign on the garage door.

Fright Free Zone
Happy Halloween. We're so glad that you're here,
but please read this sign before coming too near.
If your costume is funny or silly, happy or cute, come to the door and get your loot.
If your costume is frightening with blood, masks, or gore, please send a freind, sibling, or parent up to the door.
We have young children, scared of trick-or-treating because of the gouls and goblins whom they're always meeting.
So please be considerate of our little ones. We want a Halloween that is full of FUN!!!

HTH someone
 

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The poem is very cute, and I totally understand wanting to protect your dd from the scariness of halloween. However, at her young age I wouldn't be worried about just skipping it altogether, and going out to eat like she asked. More than likely she will be fine with it as she gets older. I don't see much point of pushing it before she's ready. (I don't think my parents ever even took me trick or treating until I was at least 4 or 5.) Plus, I imagine most groups of kids aren't going to stop to read the sign, so it's possible a scary costume could make it to the front door.

My ds is 5yo, and is not crazy about the really scary parts of Halloween. I had to run into a party store to pick up a hat for his costume, and it didn't even occur to me how scary all the decorations were. He had to leave, and kept telling me that he was afraid he was going to have nightmares. They were pretty scary - headless corpses, statues that screamed at you when you walked by, etc. So I should have known better.
 

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Cute poem but it'll open up your house as a tricking target.

Just take your DD out for supper that night....and stay at home with all your lights off when you get back.
 

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I agree that you're better off completely skipping the trick-or-treating than trying to get excited pre-teens to follow your rules about it. I'd leave the house. You could also leave candy on the steps, or have your daughter playing in a different part of the house than the front door.
 

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I'm not sure how "safe" restaurants will be on Halloween (wait staff dressing up and people going out to eat before or after Halloween activities), but I agree just skip ToT this year. I'm sure most people wouldn't thin Shrek is scary but I'm sure your little one would prefer not to see him again! so while the poem is cute I don't think it's anything that could weed out the scary stuff. Maybe you could just have family friends that have been pre-screened come by.
 

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Yeah, another vote for skipping it altogether.

If the tOting experience in your neighbourhood is anything like it is here kids are just SO excited to be out in costumes running around that they'd never stop to read a sign. They just run on up to the porch and excitedly ring the door.

It usually isn't until they're leaving that they really take a look at what we've done to our house (it's super decorated every year).
 

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Another vote for skipping it.

I don't always go close up to the door with my kids, and that poem is WAY too long to read for little ones. I think it would be easy to miss the sign if it's dark out. And even if I did see the sign, I'd probably hang back and read it while my excited kids ran to the door (and by then it might be too late to reign in my kids).
 

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Here's another idea you could do... (we're planning on doing it with our DD starting next year when she'll be walking, due to us not liking the idea of her going out and getting all the sugar)...

She could dress up in a costume she picks out and have her "trick or treat" in your house. Have family/friends come over and go into all the rooms of your house that have doors (or create doors with fabric hanging in the archway for dining rooms, kitchen, living room, etc). Have your DD get dressed in her room (with your help or she can surprise you with her costume) and have her go "door to door". That way, you choose what she gets (fruit, toys, playsilks instead of candy) and don't have to worry about anyone scaring her. Everyone can be surprised by her costume and tell her how adorable she is!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm sorry I wasn't clear. There's no real way to "skip" it unless we literally hide in DD's room with the lights off as she suggested. We won't take her around the neighborhood, but we can't stop the neighbors from coming to our door, although I could just leave the candy at the stoop and hopefully people would see it before they knock/ring the bell. I tried explaining to her that she can play in the house AWAY from the door and I could give out the candy, but I think she's afraid of that too (developmentally appropriate-she doesn't know reality from fantasy at this age, and who would want their mom facing monsters?) I told her that going out to eat is a perfectly fine option, but I added that we might see people in costumes when we're out too, and some of the costumes might scare her because I can't control how people dress up. For now, she said that's her choice and that Daddy will hold her is we see scary costumes. She was also very clear that she wants the WHOLE family to go (I really think that she believes that whomever is home will be facing countless monsters at the door). Poor little thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Opal-We were posting at the same time. I think your idea is great and maybe will work for future years if we can plan ahead. Unfortunately, we don't have many friends/family close by so coordinating a get-together during the work-week and when everyone has little ones with early bedtimes is difficult. I will put the girls in their costumes (which I have to finish making) at least to take some cute photos. If we go out to eat, great. If not, we'll figure something else out, even if it's just a marathon of book reading in her room while the ToTers grab goodies from our doorstep. I have a ton of candy here so I'll give her a few things that she can leave for the Halloween Fairy (we leave our candy for the Halloween Fairy who gives it to other boys and girls who couldn't ToT for whatever reason. The Halloween Fairy leaves DD a present e.g. books, stickers, etc. and 3 pieces of candy in exchange). I don't care if she ever ToTs, I just don't want her feeling that she isn't safe in her own home.
 

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I'd get out of the house. The whole family like she requests. Some waitstaff and diners may be dressed up, but I doubt they'd be wearing scary masks (that seems to be the more frightening for young kids) because you can't eat or talk very well with one on! Also hopefully a restaurant wouldn't be dumb enough to send a waiter in a Scream mask over to a table with young kids.

I wouldn't worry that she doesn't feel safe in her own home. I'm sure she does. Halloween should be a fun day, and if fun for your DD means going out to eat, why not go? Or maybe go see a kids' movie? I know you have a baby so maybe that wouldn't work for you... But I'd do something fun away from the house and not make a big deal out of this at all.

I hope you all have a fun Halloween.
 

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Sounds like you have it under control, but I wanted to add another idea... many churches has community-welcomed parties on halloween that do not include scary costumes. Maybe that's an option for another year? I have no idea what your religious preferences are, but I thought I'd throw it out there.
 

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I recently read an article saying how some families are growing tired of the gory and scary part of Halloween and some towns now offer a fall festival type thing instead of going out on Halloween. It's probably too late for this year, but if she still feels this way next year I think it's neat. The article said the focus was on celebration, fall season etc. No costumes other than dress up or fun type costumes (clowns, cowboys etc) were allowed. No gore etc. Like pp said, a church or something might be a first try to look.

I would just place a bowl of candy out front, stay in your house and relax or go out to dinner. I'd say you'd probably have a higher chance of seeing gory costumes out and about because that is where the adults are, not trick or treating, and more likely to have just as gory things on.

Have fun and don't stress about it. I'd venture to say this may stick with her for a while, depending on her personality, but if it does then fine. Not everyone likes the same things and if she doesn't care for Halloween, that is ok. Maybe when she's older she can appreciate the fun things about it and ignore all the rest...which is what we do. ug.
 

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I think it's a very cute poem. I think you or DH should also open the door first, without letting DD see whoever it is until you know it's not someone in a scary costume.

I had a terrifying experience with a man coming to our door dressed as a lion and growling at me when I was 3. I still have a phobia of lions to this day and remember the event like it was yesterday. So it's good that you're keeping her fears in mind.
 

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It's a very cute poem. And what a thoughtful, creative way of addressing the problem! My only comment would be that I think it is too long (though I hate to see you cut any out because it's perfect as is). I just don't think kids will take the time to read it all before ringing the bell.
 

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My dd had a similarly frightening experience when she was 3. Dh took her trick or treating around the neighborhood. She was dressed as Tigger and clearly a little kid. None the less, at one house they went to, there was a grown man dressed up as a ghoul of some sort sitting perfectly still on the side of the porch. Dh didn't know if he was alive or a decoration. When they got close to the door, the man jumped out at dd and yelled.

She came directly home after that sobbing and terrified. I was pretty pissed at the neighbor; he didn't have any developmental disabilities unlike the scary trick or treater you were dealing with and he should have known that he was dealing with a little kid.

She has gotten over it (she's 8 now), but it can take a while with a sensitive child.

You mention that there is no way to skip people coming to your door if you're home. Will they still come to the door if the porch lights are off? That's usually a pretty good sign that you are not "open" for trick or treaters.
 

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Both my kids are afraid of Halloween things. One is 5 1/2. As a result, we are skipping it again this year. We're dressing up at home, playing Candyland and having a treat or two. I have very fond memories of dressing up as a gory monster when I was an older child. But now that I have kids, I see it from their perspective; it scares the crap out of them. It's been hard to avoid the gory, bloody, life-size zombie decorations that random stores have out in their doorways and that annoys me. I think they should keep it well within their stores and then I would choose to not shop at that particular card shop, for example. But I have to coordinate our mall trips so that we do not walk down one particular hallway because the stupid store has its horrible life-size ghoul standing in the doorway facing outward. My oldest is terrified of it. I don't remember Halloween being _that_ "in your face" gory. I remember having to seek it out, not avoid it in the most mundane places.

Anyway, we're skipping Halloween and I don't feel any guilt about it. I don't care what other people do or who has kids that are fine with it. Mine are not fine with it, so we don't need to celebrate it until they are old enough to really enjoy it.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ChristaN View Post
You mention that there is no way to skip people coming to your door if you're home. Will they still come to the door if the porch lights are off? That's usually a pretty good sign that you are not "open" for trick or treaters.
This is what we do. We turn our outdoor lights off and close the blinds so it appears that we are not home. When random people inevitably try ringing the bell anyway
, we just ignore them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sorry I didn't post an update (I meant to). We had a really great Halloween. My DH came home early from work and we brought the girls in costumes to a local shopping mall. I had told DD that I saw a sign that the mall was having a costume parade, a "bubbleologist" and ToTing. I had called the mall to get a feel of the age group and they confirmed that it was generally youngins' so we figured minimal chance of spooky costumes. We also "rehearsed" with DD what to do if she saw someone/something scary (run to Daddy and he will hold you). We discussed that costumes are just pretend and there are just real people under them, but added that this can be a hard thing to remember, especially for little boys and girls.

So anyway, we went to the mall and did the "parade" which ammounted to a lap around the lower level. All DD could talk about was the bubbleologist and wanting to see the bubbleologist. We kept assuring her that we would be sure to see him. After the parade they were doing a raffle for all sorts of commercial junk we didn't want, so that's when we took her ToTing at the stores, and DH kept checking back to make sure the raffle was still going on and the show hadn't begun. Unfortunately, sure enough as we were heading back to the center area after ToTing at the last store, the crowd was clearing and bubbleologist was taking off his costume. DD (oblivious to it all) just walked up to his table and sat nicely right in front, ready for the show to begin (bless her heart). I discreetly asked the bubbleologist if he could do me a huge favor and just blow like 3 bubbles for DD so she wouldn't be disappointed about missing he show. He said sure and proceeded to take out all of his supplies and do an entire private show just for DD. She even got to put on special gloves and play "catch' with him and the bubbles. After the show, we wne to dinner at her favorite restaurant (Sweet Tomatoes). When we came home, the candy bowl was empty. I refilled it, DD picked out 3 pieces of her own candy to keep and we left the rest for the Halloween fairy, and then I put the girls to bed. We never saw a single ToTer at the house, and DD had her first positive Halloween experience (hooray!!!) DH and I kept saying that the bubbleologist absolutely saved our Halloween. We were both SO appreciative of what he did. Little does he know the role he has played in (hopefully) reshaping DD's view of the holiday.

Thanks for asking about us!
 
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