Last night my husband and I took our girls to the Halloween Haunt at Kings Island. We go every year and it’s become a family tradition. My husband and I both thoroughly enjoy Halloween and as a result, our children always have too. This includes costumes, trick-or-treating and yes, even haunted houses.
So, what’s the big deal? Depends on who you ask. You see, my kids are 5 and 6 this year. They were 3 and 4 the first time we took them to the Halloween Haunt and it was last year that they were fully engaged in the “adult” Halloween festivities.
I will admit, I was a bit nervous the first time we let them go through a haunted house. My goal is not to traumatize my children. They like scary stuff, but I didn’t want to push too hard, too soon. But, they asked and were persistent, so we let them. My kids are not the norm for their age. They are used to creepy and gross things from the Halloween display my husband sets up in the front yard every year. They understand that the “scarers” are people dressed up and playing a role. They know that it’s pretend. Their cousin is even one of the characters at Kings Island this year, so they get that these people are acting.
My children enjoy the scary stuff about Halloween. I will say that again… my children ENJOY the scary stuff about Halloween.
Last night as I waited in line to get into the park with my children, I had no less than 4 people comment on their ages and call to question my judgement as a parent in bringing such young kids to the Halloween Haunt. One lady remarked…”They are smiling now, but I will be surprised if they keep smiling once they are inside.” Mind you… this was while numerous ghouls and creepers were running through the crowds outside the gates and my kids were just taking it all in. I smiled and replied, “They will be fine.” She actually rolled her eyes at me.
It really doesn’t bother me that people may think I am a neglectful parent for letting my kids go to the Halloween Haunt. What bothers me is that people actually think they know MY children better than I do.
Here is how our night went. We stood just inside the gates for about 30 minutes while the girls just watched and interacted with all of the scary creatures. We rode a couple of rides. We went into a couple of haunted houses. My oldest chose not to go into one haunted house because she didn’t like that it was going to be pitch black. I rode a roller coaster with her instead. We went to a few more haunted houses. The girls made friends with a guy named “Beans” who would run away from them screaming when they yelled “BOO!” back at him.
We played in the fog and enjoyed all of the Halloween displays. My oldest got to ride The Beast for the first time. We grabbed some food, rode some more rides and I took my youngest home when she got tired. My husband stayed with my oldest who was not quite ready to go yet and instead wanted to go through a couple more haunted houses.
Here is what didn’t happen. They didn’t cry. They didn’t scream. They weren’t traumatized.
And we had a great night as a family.
Judgement runs rampant in this day and age. It seems as though people have opinions about all things, all the time. Last night was a great reminder to me that we all need to spend more time focusing on our own lives and decisions. I am already looking forward to taking my kids back to the Haunt next year. It’s the perfect family tradition for our family.