My Kid Likes Scary Things!
If your kids love ghost stories, creepy bugs and monsters, they are far from alone. Many children adore anything that sends a chill up their little spines.
Many kids can’t get enough of things that go bump in the night. For instance, consider the popularity of writer R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. These creepy chillers for children aged nine and up earned him the nickname “the Stephen King of children’s literature.”
How popular are these books? The Guinness Book of World Records named Stine as the best-selling children’s book series author of all time.
Going Bump In the Night
You’ve probably noticed your kid also loves ghost stories. Children love to sit around a campfire and tell the story of the Headless Hitchhiker, the Ghostly Dog and other well-known tales. Sharing scary stories is a standard feature of most little girls’ slumber parties.
Don’t Worry About It
Should any of this worry you? No, it shouldn’t. It’s a natural part of growing up. Children are experimenting with powerful emotions, including fear and anxiety. They’re learning how to manage extreme emotional reactions.
If you like scary stories, you know what that jolt of adrenaline feels like when you watch or read something suspenseful. That’s the same thrill your kids love to experience.
It’s a Rush
Experiencing the terror of a scary story, movie or haunted house ride, a child experiences a rush of powerful emotions. These include fear, excitement and a sense of victory when the monster is defeated. It teaches them how to manage frightening situations.
Scientists have found many people respond to scary books and movies with a rush of dopamine, the hormone that makes us feel euphoric. These are the people who enjoy scaring themselves.
Keep the Scary Parts Manageable
Your kids may love scary stories, but it’s important to monitor what they’re watching or reading. Keep full-blown, violent horror books and movies for adults or teenagers only. Be sure the books or movies your kids watch don’t have real-life terrors like murderers or grisly deaths.
Some kids can watch these movies and seem fine at the time, but then burst into uncontrollable sobbing later. It’s always better to play it too safe than to traumatize your young child.
Choose the Right Scary Movies and Books
These are all movies that will give children a good fright without being too traumatic.
- The Haunted Mansion (2003): This 2003 Disney movie is a classic ghost story that will give most children the shivers. It also has a timeless message about the importance of family.
- Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark (2019): This movie version of the classic children’s horror collection is definitely spooky.
- Hocus Pocus (1993): This is a classic, funny Halloween movie about a trio of incompetent witches.
- Monster Squad (1987: This movie is a little more frightening than the others on this list, but it’s a great introduction to classic horror characters like the Wolfman and Count Dracula.
The best horror books include the Stine books and these:
- In a Dark, Dark Room by Alan Schwartz: Schwartz says you’re supposed to read these stories aloud, so get ready for some shared scares.
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: This is best for mature kids or those over 10.
- The Witches by Roald Dahl: This darkly humorous book is perfect for Halloween.
Enjoy the Thrills and Chills
If your kid loves all things spooky, just embrace it. It’s a natural part of growing up. If you also love scary things, you can have some shared, spooky fun.