Like many Americans, we hit the sidewalk yesterday all dressed up with a bucket in tow to go knock on strangers’ doors and beg for candy. Halloween, what a fun holiday!
It also can be horribly scary, especially through the eyes of a 3 year old. Logan was a fireman and a mighty happy one at that. In the suburban land of the homemade costumes, my kid’s was bought from the store, but hey he was ecstatic over it and so was I. He had an inflatable fire extinguisher on his back and an Elmo pail for hauling candy.
Some of the houses had groaning ghouls, cackling witches and moaning mummies. Whenever we’d walk up to one of these haunts he’d clutch my finger tighter and his steps would get tinier.
“It’s OK, it’s just pretend. There’s no need to be scared. I’m right here. It can’t hurt you. You’re OK.” I’d say over and over again.
Remember how terrifying it was to be a little one? All those strange noises that adults didn’t seem to notice? The nightmares? Scooby Doo? (I remember one of my babysitters always watched Scooby Doo and it scared the crap out of me.)
In our house we’re working with owning our fears. A few months back, Logan started saying how he was afraid of monsters, so we talked about how monsters weren’t real, they couldn’t hurt us, and we can always tell them just to not scare us.
Somehow that became part of our nighttime routine. We now have a Monster Speech where after we turn out the lights, we stand in the hallway and command the monsters not to scare Logan. He gives the speech, and with much gusto. Over the months it’s morphed into telling the monsters not to scare him, not to break his toys and to leave his family alone.
He’s always so proud of himself when it’s done. And we haven’t had any monster scares since. I’m hoping we help him own his fears.
Back on the Halloween trail after about an hour of trick or treating, we start up the driveway of a house with scary decorations and he begins to sing:
“I’m not aaffffraaaaiiiddd…” a la Eminem. (I’d been listening to that song a lot several weeks back.)
Hubby and I looked at each other, realized what he was singing and jumped in with him with wild excitement: “To take a stand! Everybody! Come take my hand!…”
We were very proud of our firefighter and we certainly rattled the chains of the little old white lady who was waiting with bewilderment at her door at the approaching rapping family.