Why are children afraid of scary

Halloween: scary fun or danger for children's souls?

Whoever opens the door of the apartment after a brisk ringing of the doorbell on October 31st, has the impression that a lively scene from a horror film in mini format is building up in front of him: Little devils, witches or werewolves threaten the residents with creepy jokes if they do do not soothe them with sweets. "Trick or treat," is the gruesome demand of the disguised children on Halloween. Evangelical Christians like to use Luther sweets or Luther biscuits. With this they remember the Reformation Day, which is also celebrated on this day.

The custom of celebrating Halloween originated in Ireland and came to the USA with the Irish emigrants. There, dressed up children go from house to house with the slogan "Trick or treat" (prank or candy). The festival came back to Europe from the USA, but with a stronger commercial aspect. But neither the market nor the media can explain the triumphant advance. What is it about the gruesome festival that fascinates children, young people and, increasingly, adults too?

Fear under control

Pastor Doris Joachim-Storch, the advisor for divine service at the EKHN's proclamation center, explains: “We are vulnerable when it comes to love and fear. We are deeply touched. Halloween plays with the ghostly, plays with the horror and fear. ”To this end, external elements are staged. Children and young people disguised themselves as bats, wore imitation cobwebs, costumes with the outline of a skeleton. “Halloween is party, loud and funny and somehow also scary. But the spirits that you call are controllable, ”explains the pastor. She continues: “Because if I slip into the role of ghosts myself, then I am ridiculing them. Especially when I'm a kid. It is precisely this control of scaring people that Halloween customs serve. "

Halloween accommodates the desire to break rules. "The social relationship is reversed: Children get a higher status than adults," explains the speaker from the Annunciation Center. On Halloween the children are allowed to scare the adults. In this way, the children would take on the role of those in power who are not afraid themselves.

Avoid Hazards - Talk to children about the horror

However, Pastor Joachim-Storch warns: “Of course that is also double-edged. The festival can tip over, for example when satanist groups celebrate Halloween as Devil's Day. But that doesn't usually happen. These customs are primarily for fun, overcoming fear and letting off steam. ”Some Protestant theologians point out that sometimes curiosity can be greater than the psychological strength to endure what is desired. So scratches on the child's soul are not excluded. That is why it makes sense for parents and those responsible in kindergartens to talk to the children about the importance of the festival.

With fun doing it

Basically, Doris Joachim-Storch gives the all-clear: “Let the children have fun, scare the adults and extort sweets from them. It's a game that has positive aspects. "