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Taking Halloween overboard?

This might not be the most popular post I have ever written. And I should start by saying that I am a huge fan of Halloween.

However, my status as “parent of small children” may have changed my perspective on the really gruesome side of Halloween.

My father used to take Halloween to the extreme (for the late 1970’s) by pranking -- making headless dummies that sat in the front yard and jumping up from hiding behind the screen door to scare the living daylights out of trick or treaters. I remember laughing at it with my sister (who has also inherited a love for Halloween) while my mom was sighing and rolling her eyes at Dad.

I have turned into my mom.

The other day I was taking the “through the neighborhood” route to the main street near our house when I looked over to admire a house decked out as a cemetery. I started out impressed, but slowly made a mental note to myself.

“Do not drive by with the kids in the car, and no trick or treating this direction.”

The gruesome zombies rising out of the ground were really bordering on too realistic for my tastes. My kids? My daughter probably has no idea how to even interpret the scene. But even though my son talks a big story, he would have nightmares for weeks -- nightmares that I have to respond to and calm him about.

Isn’t this taking Halloween a little too far? Or am I just one of those helicopter moms I hear all sorts of references about?