Fear Factor

Today is All Hallows’ Eve, and I’m just not convinced I like it.

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There are those who claim that Allhallowtide is a time to use “ridicule and humour to confront the power of death”, but what’s so effective about scaring little children?

My eleven-year-old came home terrified this week by rumours that a murderous clown is hiding out in garages, lying in wait to kill unsuspecting victims with a chainsaw. I knew it had to be a joke, but to her it was all too real.

Later in the day when I was researching online for an article, I came across a video about clowns in garages and clicked play. It turns out the rumours are not totally off: there is a clown (many of them and not far from here) hiding out in public garages with his accomplice, pretending to cut a man in half. Blood is copious. Peoples’ reactions are filmed live.

And what of the mother who shows up after shopping with her kid? Do you think she’ll ever feel safe again, even if it is a joke? And that child, scarred for life? Worse… my own daughter won’t even go to the laundry room these days for fear he’s hiding there. And she didn’t even see the video, just heard talk of it from equally terrified schoolmates.

I think that in the “face of the power of death”, light and peace are more effective than gory fear.

We whipped up a batch of pumpkin spice pancakes for dinner and carved a happy, jovial face into our own autumn pumpkin. We avoid the subject of clowns. But until this wave is over, I have an innocent little girl gently asking me every morning to drive her the few blocks to school, to take her downstairs to get a pound of sugar from the pantry, though she always enjoyed going alone to “shop” there before.

I’m not so sure the fear is empowering anyone…

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