Halloween was my favorite holiday as a kid. I guess it explains how crazy I was about candy, because I do not enjoy being scared in the very least. I am one of those people who can be startled into jumping three feet just because someone walks into the same room with me. I remember my mother always being crazy about the holiday. She threw fantastic Halloween parties, complete with haunted mazes through our woods…she was however, paranoid every single year that someone would kidnap our cats and murder them in some sort of sacrificial ceremony. I have no idea how she got that into her head, or why she was so worried about it.
I don’t like scary, so I am not really into “Scary Halloween”. I like, “Fun & Playful Halloween”…and I like the candy. I specifically dislike horror, and horror movies particularly. I have actually refused to go to Universal Studios since we moved to Florida, because I was so angry with them flashing their terrible horror commercials all over the television when my children were little. It makes me sad to think of what has become of the horror movie. Hitchcock was brilliant, and actually knew how to create a frightening film. At this point most horror movies amount to terrible actors having gallons of blood and guts make-up poured all over them. I can find nothing redeemable in these films whatsoever, and I am genuinely concerned when I wonder what compels people to watch them. Several years ago I saw a trailer for a film that was focused on a woman who was kidnapped by some sicko for the purpose of torturing her. Why in the name of god would anyone want to watch that played out for two hours on the big screen. I just cannot wrap my mind around it.
I do not let my kids watch much violence. I could care less if they see sex on television, they will know about that sooner or later, so I just don’t see the point in shielding them from it. Violence is different though. It is absolutely true that the more violence a person sees the more they train themselves not to react to it. I want for my children to be shocked and horrified by violence. We all should be. It should make each and every human being cry to see people purposely hurt by others. I feel like our society’s romance with horror actually mocks all of the pain and suffering that is happening all over the world. I think about the actual people who had their relatives murdered in Texas by a psycho with a chainsaw, and I wonder what they must feel when they see the trailer for the twentieth film about the incident on their TV.
I think that the desensitization is the idea that gets missed when people proclaim that exposing children to violent scenes is harmless. No, I do not believe that watching violent movies or horror films will instantly compel a normal child to go out and start attacking people. I do however, think that the more violence they are exposed to, the less violence they might seek to put an end to. I have to admit it, I really do want for my children to grow up to be peacemakers. I want for them to experience the immense joy of helping others and making a real difference. I will always love them no matter what they choose to do in life. I do understand though, that what they are exposed to now, while am I still the one making the decisions about what they see, is making a really big impact. So we are going to stick with our very tame Halloween festivities, at least for a while. I know that we are getting close to the day that they won’t even want to go Trick-or-Treating anymore. They grow up so fast, even faster than my generation did. I’m going to keep doing what I can to slow them down a little.