The real nightmare of showing your kids horror movies

Them gem was written two years ago and still in the draft folder. 

My kiddos are turning 9 and 11 and both have been begging me to watch scarier movies. After all, they’ve overcome the trauma of the Wizard of Oz’s flying monkeys, so they should be ready for The Shinings of the world. Right? Wrong.

Call me an overprotective mom, but I’m appalled I spent my tween years watching Friday the 13th at sleepovers where we’d freak each other out by pretending to bring Jason–the silent, undead and unstoppable killing machine–to life. I still remember my adrenaline-fueled bike ride home from my friend Avril’s in the dark after watching Children of the Corn, certain that didn’t bike fast enough, I’d become part of that  dangerous religious cult of children who believe everyone over the age of 18 must be killed. Fortunately, I was only 12 so I was safe. OR WAS I?

Related: College Humor’s Horror Movie Daycare is a must-see if you’re a child who grew up watching the horrors films of the ’80s and ’90s.

I’ve kept my kids pretty sheltered so I figured I’d ease them into the scary-movie genre with Watcher in the Woods. This 1980 American horror mystery thriller film may be be produced by Walt Disney Productions but the movie–in particular the mirror scene at the carnival–haunted me for years.

They laughed in my face. “Mom, that wasn’t scary at all.”

I decided to up the ante with Signs. If stalker in the woods didn’t freak them out, maybe Mel Gibson as a fallen Reverend coupled with aliens would.

They were definitely freaked out but I talked them through the deeper meaning of the film. We even had a really in really in-depth spiritual discussion about signs that are around us every day and I thought all was well.

Until I went to bed.

In the middle of the night, I felt something pressed up against me and realized I’d been curled up in a ball. I felt a toussle of long hair. Hadley. Then I heard someone else breathing heavily. I reached over her to find her brother nestled up against her.

I’ll take that as a Sign we’re putting a kibosh on scarier movies for a while.



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