Scaring Kiddies the Right Way this Halloween

Zombie leaping out of a casket toward kids.Planning to host a spooky trick-or-treat event? Who could blame you? Every year my husband and I haul out the coffin and lots of props, and gear up to scare the heck out of the neighborhood. I’m talking lots of fog, strobe lights, bloody bodies, and a “corpse” you have to grab the candy from, praying he doesn’t jump out at you (and he will!).

And, every year, people watch the video montage and I always get some “shame on you” comments. I’m reminded of wee ones who’ll certainly suffer from nightmares, and autistic children who have no idea what they’re walking into. Yet, we’ve never received a single complaint from a parent. Not one.

We are privy to all the different conditions and fears of children and adults alike. That’s why we always give a choice. You can follow the crowd “over here” and pee your pants, or you can walk instead to the very nice lady sans costume and ask for some yummy treats. Two lines. Your choice.

I’m happy to report that about 95% of the trick-or-treaters take the scary line. In fact, the bulk of their parents and grandparents coax them into doing it, then want to take their own turn at the coffin. Yep, we’ve sent plenty of grandmothers sprinting away after Joe lets out a shriek and beats his fist on the lid of the casket. But we haven’t lost anyone—okay, that’s a lie. We did lose a teenage boy who ran down the block, and his friends came back an hour later still looking for him.

All in good fun.

Here’s some raw video of a recent Halloween night, whereas you can see that parents love to coax the kids to walk up to the casket, while a few others guide them to a different line. Rarely does anyone outright avoid the house.


Two lines. That’s really all it takes. Believe me, parents of children who can’t handle it know exactly how to handle the situation. They will either veer totally away from your house, or they’ll stand between their child and the scary stuff and go to the welcoming guy or gal handing out sweets by the fistful.

The rest of them, though? They’re fair game.


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