Monday, September 21, 2009

Scare Tactics

Thankfully, during his first two years of life, Lukas has not developed many fears. Actually, I am not sure I could name more than one or two things that he has shown genuine fear of.

So, it surprised us yesterday afternoon when, having let Lukas watch an episode of Elmo's World for the first time in nearly a month, a distinctly frightened cry came from our living room. Mrs. LIAYF and I rounded the corner from the kitchen immediately to see Lukas sitting there in his little chair with an utter look of horror on his face. "Turn it off! Turn it off!" he cried.

It seems that, in this particular episode of the show, titled Hair, Elmo dons a wig of long braided hair. Not a particularly scary story line to be sure. Well, everything was fine up until the point when the little red guy decided to pull the wig off, holding it out in his furry little hand.

It must have seemed like he was pulling his head apart -or something equally disturbing, since it really freaked Lukas out. "It's ok Sweetie. It's only a wig. Kind of like all the funny hats you wear during dress up" Mrs. LIAYF assured him. He didn't seem convinced. Eventually though, he calmed down and we put on a different episode. But it was a pretty bizarre event based on what we have come to expect from our son.

As for me, there are only a couple of things I can remember that really scared me as a young child. One was the Maurice Sendak book Where the Wild Things Are. I'm not sure how old I was at the time, but I distinctly remember being deathly afraid of those jagged tooth creatures that roamed in the dark woods, presumably waiting for a tasty child to eat. A coincidence that the movie version comes out close to Halloween? I think not.

The other thing, and I know you will understand this one, was the Brady Bunch episode where Bobby has a dream that a UFO lands in their back yard and two little red headed aliens visit him in his room. I can remember staring at my window scared stiff for several nights in a row after that episode wondering when those frightening creatures were going to show up and cart me away. But I am sure that was a common fear for kids my age. No? Really? Did I mention how their hair was red?

Tell me readers, what scared the bejeezus out of you as a child?

19 comments:

SciFi Dad said...

Pet Sematary. Seriously, I could not sleep for a week after that.

McMommy said...

Clowns. I had a horrid fear of clowns.

And maybe?

I still do.

Lady Mama said...

I was afraid of the Easter bunny. What? How would you like to be told a giant rabbit loaded with eggs was going to "pop in" through your window while you were sleeping? Freaky.

We've had a few incidents like that too, where our toddler has reacted to something unexpected...

PJ Mullen said...

The movie Poltergeist, I watched it not long after it came out due to a slack babysitter. When that clown was on the chair, then not. Wow. I kept my room spotless for years after that.

A Free Man said...

Fear is so irrational at that age. My older boy is currently scared of his bed. I don't know why and he can't tell me. But it's making for some long, sleepless nights.

Craig Playstead said...

I was terrified of those flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz ... now I'm just scared of credit card companies and anything with too much carbonation.

Mighty M said...

My mom loved to scare us when we were kids, so I'll have to go with her. ;-)

CK Lunchbox said...

Willy Wonka, specifically the Umpa Lumpas. That and the Sleestacks; they were what I thought the Boogie Men were.

I'd take Elmo's heading exploding any day over those cats.

Kori said...

People from the Aryan Nation (skinheads). I kid you not. I lived in a small, small town, very small, like 1000 people small. And one time some people from MTV stopped in the restaraunt my family owned. They were producers for one of this shows that used to be on back before all the crap (remember when there used to be MUSIC VIDEOS on there? The horror!), and they had gone on the road and were looking for...something, I can't remember what, for some show whose name I can't recall. Anyway, they came in to eat and I was their waitress (so what if I was only 12, come on!), and I don't EVEN remember why we got on ths ubject of the skinheads-I guess becuase this was Idaho, so they assumed we were all Aryans, but whatever. So, thinking I was all cool and important, I gave them some bullcrap story about stuff I had "heard" about the Aryans pulling some stuff in my town, including the fact that THEY ran a black couple out of town (which actually isn't true, it was the mayor, but that's another story). SO I was pretty into it but, you know, they couldn't use anything I had said because I was a minor, and they left.

And then for weeks, even months, I was sure that the Aryans had heard about me spreading stories (lies) about them in order to look cooler than I was (which didn't take much, obviously), and that I was such a threat to them that they were going to send someone to kill me. Every noise I heard, every time the wind banged the door shut, every time I had to walk down to the basement, I was sure it was them. And forget about sleeping. Yeah; I am so proud.

Not the long answer you were hoping for? Sorry. When I was a kid I was afraid of....my parents.

FilmFather said...

Back in the mid-'70s, HBO used to play movie trailers between films, and the ones for horror films scared the crap out of me. Carrie and It's Alive immediately come to mind...

Oh, and also watching Quint get eaten alive by the shark in Jaws when I was about 8 (also on HBO, BTW).

Steve said...

For reasons I will never understand I would wake up in the night crying and frightened with an image of a nearby bridge over the motorway in my mind.

FalkFamily said...

I think I was about 10 and my cousin and I snuck to watch Nightmare on Elm Street. I was scared to death of waterbeds from then on out!

Eric Bolton said...

The Planter's Mr. Peanut. I had a dream that he was spanking me. He was in full ensamble. I think I was on a sail boat too.. It's one of those dreams that you remember forever.

Mrs. LIAYF said...

Jim already knows these stories, but I was afraid of things that came in the night.

I was scared the mud monster (bad B movie I watched with a babysitter) would drag itself from the swamp in the middle of the night and come into my room. Never mind that I lived in New Mexico and there were no swamps around, this one always scared me.

I was scared of what was under the bed, so if I had to go to the bathroom at night I would stand on the bed, then jump out as far as I could and run to the bathroom. But, I was also scared there might be something in the toilet (alligator? crocodile? That's another bad B movie) that would bite my bum.

And, to this day I have to have my closet closed before I go to sleep.

Captain Dumbass said...

Cross-dressing Elmo? I can see the fear factor in that. And I remember that UFO bit on the Brady Bunch. What about the Jesse James dream? "Jesse James killed my father... Jesse James killed my father..."

creative-type dad said...

I don't remember that episode...although now I'm afraid to watch it.

When I was younger, E.T. scared me to death.

WILLIAM said...

Wait...the brady bunch gave you nightmares?

Mama Andrea said...

I had nightmares about tarantulas all over my bed after a tarantula movie where they came in and encased the entire town in webs, killing everyone. I was not quite myself after the piranha movie (somehow they got in a public pool and some naughty teens were skinny dipping) so I didn't trust pools. Then came the vampires... I slept with sheets and covers over my head until just a few weeks ago (hehe) because I imagined they could not remove the sheets to bite my neck. Even if it was stifling hot, there I was, under covers. I would leap off of my bed towards my bedroom door so the hands from creatures that lived there could not grab me. THEN I was afraid of our pantry after having a bad dream. I don't watch scary movies for a reason. :)

James (SeattleDad) said...

@All - thanks for the great responses! Surprised that none of you were also frightened by the Brady UFO episode.

Still creeps me out...