To Defeat Fear

My kids are too old for trick-or-treating and no trick-or-treaters come to my house… so…On Halloween, I took my kids on a road trip (BECAUSE HALLOWEEN IS IMPORTANT!). We immersed ourselves in the scariest night of the year at my parents’ house. My dad has a spectacular set-up, so I donned my demon persona and strategically placed myself amongst the creepiness of dancing skeletons, a coffin, demons, and a graveyard. Colored lights and a spooky soundtrack created the perfect atmosphere. I didn’t jump out at people. I didn’t threaten them with a chainsaw. I stood. I stared. And I watched.

Me and my new friend. Halloween 2015

Me and my new friend. Halloween 2015

All I did was make eye contact. That was all that was necessary. For the unknown, the questions, brought the fear to life. Was I a real person? Was I going to do jump out and say BOO? Did I have a bloody chainsaw behind my back? Who was under that hood?

They approached my dad’s house with wide eyes and gaping mouths.

Mom and Dad's house...looks even better in the dark.

Mom and Dad’s house…looks even better in the dark.

Traveled beyond the graveyard…

The graveyard...the headstone says "Here lies last year's trick or treaters"... the skeletons spin

The graveyard…the headstone says “Here lies last year’s trick or treaters”… the skeletons spin

Up the stairs…

On the front porch...that's my daughter in the middle

On the front porch…that’s my daughter in the middle

To the front door…and candy…

My dad. Gotta love him. He really does dangle candy to get the kids up there.

My dad. Gotta fear him. He really does dangle candy to get the kids up there.

I chuckled to myself at the various ways our visitors dealt with fear.

First…assess the situation. Take time to inspect the area for danger. Ask the nice lady (my mom) at the end of the sidewalk what lurks in the place of flashing lights and creepy sounds.

Second…choose how to get to the candy.

Run as fast as you can without looking at any of the decorations. If you don’t see it, the chainsaw isn’t real.

Walk slowly, inspecting each and every element to make sure nothing wants to eat you or cut you to pieces.

Shuffle through the danger zone screaming every few seconds…because there might be chainsaws.

Lock eyes with what could be a live person (ME!), stop, stare, turn around, and run…return only when you have back-up.

Huddle in a group, because that chainsaw I have can’t possibly cut through more than one person.

Touch everything…hey, if you can touch it, it loses it’s scary power.

Ask me if I am real…if I am going to get you…if I can talk. Certainly, if I respond to intelligent conversation, I am not a serial killer. *cue chainsaw sounds*

Declare in a loud voice that you ARE NOT SCARED. Go up and down the sidewalk numerous times to prove this.

Admit that last year you were too afraid to approach the haunted house, but this year you are awesome.

Jump. Tremble. And shake.

Laugh. Giggle. Guffaw.

Hold the hand of an adult, because they provide a impenetrable, chainsaw-proof force field.

Stare at the adult, who insists you get over yourself and JUST GO, as if they are crazy.

Nod as your parent points out all the cool stuff, all the time wishing for that candy bar so you can leave.

Hold your bag, pumpkin, or other candy collection device as far out in front of you as possible so as not to invade the monster’s space.

Stare in awe, because DARN THIS IS SUPER COOL!

Finally…receive candy reward and hurry back, still on the alert.

I tried to keep a straight face. I tried to stay menacing, but I couldn’t help but smile. I couldn’t help but wave (as creepily as I could) or saying “Happy Halloween”. Everyone reacted differently to what they faced. Some embraced the fear. Others fought it every step of the way. For some, silence accompanied with them. Others needed to chatter non-stop or scream. I love how everyone has their own coping devices. I’m one who sits silently. I’m one who grins in delight and awe. How do you deal with fear?

Overall…it was the best Halloween ever, even without chainsaws.


*I dedicate the chainsaw references to my fellow Midnighters. Thank you for showing me the fun of slasher films and (*cough*Brian*cough*) for introducing me to Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and the Army of Darkness.

*All pictures taken by ME!

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