Thursday, October 25, 2007

Enough Scariness Already

Adrienne of WATAT asks, Why is Everything So Scary? and lists some book suggestions for children who are "sick and tired of being scared." Sign me up, too, please. I think the dripping fangs, glow-in-the-dark face makeup and ghastly should be donned in defiance of the scary forces that be (whether they are otherworldly ghouls or all-too-worldly human predators), not to scare our friends. Once, I hid behind the door of one of my housemates with the idea that it would be funny to jump out and scare her. I snickered to myself as she came up the steps. Then, as she began to enter the room, I decided it wasn't that funny anymore. Instead of jumping out and going, "WAARRRRGH!" I giggled. She still screamed with fright. Then and there, I decided that I wanted to make people laugh instead of scream. "The Graveyard Voice" by Betty Lehrman (scroll down to item 50) is a good story for such a storytelling venture.


TadMack said...

An opinion I totally stand behind.
Teaching for the juvenile system, I have seen children frightened. I have seen children terrified. It isn't really funny.

We are a strange species. I mean, it IS "fun" for awhile for most people to be slightly startled; we test our endurance and are able to laugh it off -- because these ghosties and haunted houses aren't the real 'dark' of which we are so fearful. But for the Littles... I think it should be funny and goofy and you've put it so well -- putting on masks to say "Hah!" to the things they fear under the bed or in the garbage can (Yes. I was afraid of the trash. Sigh. Never mind). But truly scaring them? Why?

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Thanks, Tadmack. I'm thinking about an upcoming Halloween show where the age-range is 3-9, and while I want to fulfil my host's billing as a "spooky storyteller," I do not want to do so at the expense of the little ones.

I can understand being afraid of the trash. I was afraid of a particular tree when I was a little girl. (I heard a hunter's gunshot at the same time I looked at the tree, and I was afraid the tree was going to start moving toward me.) You never know what's going to make an impression.

Lone Star Ma said...

I agree, too. I don't mind the fun of spookiness, but horrors are another thing (wicked, evil Coraline!). I try not to turn away from the real horrors much...not to pretend they are not my responsibility and, like tadmack, I find it hard to then find pain entertaining.