This series appeared on the old blog just last year. As part of last year’s Countdown to Halloween, and this year as well, the series will be repeated for posterity.
It’s been a while, but this year this blog, along with many others, will be a part of the Countdown to Halloween. Click on the link for the official site, and look for icons like the one below to find many more great geeky blogs celebrating the season.
There is now a five year old boy in my house. Its okay, he’s mine and he lives here. He is very much all of five years old and everything that goes with that. He is wild, loud, full of boundless energy, loves toilet humor, testing the boundaries of defiance, all that good stuff. But what he also is, and most of all for this month, is a kid who is falling in love with Halloween and all that lays therein.
I blame streaming media.
Let me explain…
Last year was the first year my son “got” Halloween. He was excited to dress up, very excited for the candy, and between the group that was with us and the places we went to he had one of the most fun nights of his life. For weeks after we had to explain that we could not Trick R Treat tonight and he would have to wait an entire year. This went over as well as you would think.
One of the reasons Halloween 2017 went so well is that we learned how to explain things to him through videos of other kids on YouTube. My son is a big learn my example kid. He sees one of his cousins climb up to the big slide, he’s going to climb it. Same with trying new food, or learning many skills. He wants to hang with the other kids. So we searched on YouTube for kids going out on Halloween and those algorithms changed our lives.
Now thanks to watching one kid YouTube channel, all of the other popular ones show up as suggestions. From a time where I could put in a DVD of some fun cute cartoon to now thousands of options featuring the latest from Ryan’s Toy Review, Hobby Kids, Extreme Toys and so on and on and on and don’t forget to click the subscribe button!
At best they’re harmless videos and at worst, they’re commercials. I can’t really judge a kid having a favorite show and being influenced to buy things during these shows. As a child who grew up with WPIX and Fox 5, there are many items all around me that were no doubt bought because of a great commercial after school. Blind bags, Imaginext, and more are now the go to aisles at Walmart or Target and his toy bins have started to grow. One of the main, “advertisers” I guess, is Nerf. And now we reach Halloween.
These kids YouTube channels get Nerf guns and have some pretty epic battles. They fight each other, fight their parents, other kids, neighbors, everyone. Crazy wars all around the house and out into the cul-de sac. Once the parents behind the cameras run out of ideas to fight each other there is an obvious next villain to turn to – monsters.
Werewolves, aliens, giant spiders, zombies, creepy dolls, and every other possible thing that goes bump in the night has taken a foam tip dart between the eyes. My son thinks its the greatest thing in the world and could watch these shows for hours. While some would think this then influences him to want Nerf guns (and to be fair he has one) it has really pointed his focus to monsters. One day after watching some grade school warriors he turns to me and asks if we have any movies with monsters.
Well no buddy, because I haven’t bought any kid friendly ones because I didn’t know you would want to watch them.
“What about this one?” and he pulls Monster Squad from the shelf.
Sure, Monster Squad. A 1980’s movie I loved, therefore somewhat kid friendly. All the classics are there. He loved it. Until he got too scared. Now any trip to a store that sells DVDs involves a side trip to find a new monster movie. Godzilla, King Kong, all the Universal, dinosaurs, episodes of cartoons where they see one monster and no thank you I don’t want another episode, just that one again.
Earlier this year I had the well known and extensively written about SummerSlam trip. During one of the many conversations with my Dad leading up to this trip I mention my son watching monster movies. Turns out my Dad used to watch a lot of the Godzilla movies, also on the channels mentioned earlier (and let’s thrown in WWOR too) which I have faint memories of. Two or three years ago I found old issues of Eerie and Creepy in my grandparents’ attic – no doubt belonging to one of my uncles.
Then it hit me. My son is becoming third generation Monster Kid. The baby boomers grew up with Famous Monsters of Filmland and the cheap horror movie hosts. I encountered this lore on cable and in comic stores. Now my kid is discovering things through streaming media and tablets.
Its about being scared, but in a safe way. About learning the difference between fantasy and reality, but still thinking there’s a possibility. Now I’m also adding its about bonding. I’ve written this blog for years and it should be obvious there wont be many father son trips to go fishing, watch a football game, hunt, or what have you. But I will damn sure get some drinks and popcorn and find something scary every Halloween for the rest of my life with a little monster by my side.
This Halloween season I’ll be exploring monsters through my 5 year old’s eyes in order to understand him and maybe to understand monsters too.