Do your little kids love horror? They're not alone

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Dominic (left) and Aubriella Lopez proudly show  their Michael Myers masks. The brace  are large   "Halloween" fans, their mother, Kayla, tells CNN.

CNN  — 

Some kids cling to information blankets. Others clutch a well-loved stuffed carnal oregon bully luck charm to consciousness harmless and confident.

Kayla Lopez’s kids, meanwhile, conscionable request to propulsion connected their Michael Myers masks to consciousness invincible.

“I don’t truly cognize of anybody that likes fearfulness arsenic overmuch arsenic them, honestly,” she said.

Dominic, 6, and his 8-year-old sister Aubriella are hooked connected horror, running astir their location in the disguise Myers dons successful the “Halloween” series to discreetly dispatch his victims. It’s a show that’s other hilarious erstwhile juxtaposed against their abbreviated stature, delightful giggles and footie pajamas.

Lopez documents their scary shenanigans connected TikTok: Sometimes Dominic volition hide nether beds dressed similar Pennywise the Dancing Clown from “It” oregon reveal a hockey mask à la Jason of “Friday the 13th” beneath his beloved Myers facade. Oftentimes, Aubriella and her small member volition just look astatine their parent from underneath their creepy rubber masks. Attempting to scare each different has go a treasured household pastime.

Kayla Lopez caught her lad   Dominic sleeping with his beloved Chucky doll. He shocked his young friends erstwhile   helium  asked for the doll for his 3rd  birthday.

The Lopez kids aren’t the lone youngins funny successful the macabre: Briar Rose Beard, a cherubic 3-year-old from Florida, precocious enchanted the internet by falling successful emotion with a Halloween prop babe doll named Creepy Chloe and toting the demonic-looking doll everywhere. The Sumner household of Idaho, whose matriarch Kailee posts connected TikTok arsenic @sumcowkids, precocious went viral erstwhile their youngest member, inactive successful the babbling stages of babyhood, was filmed growling astatine his older sister successful a decrepit witch mask.

Adorable kids and fearfulness paraphernalia look similar an incongruous pairing. But a child’s involvement successful fearfulness is “almost ever a harmless fascination,” said Coltan Scrivner, a probe idiosyncratic astatine the Recreational Fear Lab astatine Denmark’s Aarhus University.

“It’s mean for children to privation to research the boundaries of their ain fears and what nine deems arsenic acceptable,” said Scrivner, who studies fearfulness media and fear, among different “scary” subjects. “This is 1 mode for them to larn astir those boundaries.”

Just arsenic immoderate children play dress-up with princess gowns oregon Jedi robes, Dominic and Aubriella get a footwear retired of dressing up similar fearfulness characters – usually Myers. It’s a regular enactment for the siblings, harmless wrong the confines of their home.

“Scary experiences are lone amusive if they are couched successful the discourse of play,” Scrivner said. “That is, we person to beryllium frightened but besides beryllium definite we are safe.”

Getting into scary worldly astatine a young property isn’t usually origin for alarm, Scrivner said – young fearfulness fans are braver than astir children their age, to beryllium sure, but they’re truly conscionable exploring the complexities of their world, which is scary capable successful existent life.

“By exploring scary things from a harmless place, children tin besides larn much astir however they respond to feelings of fearfulness and anxiety,” helium said.

Child fearfulness buffs aren’t that antithetic from america older folks, either: Frank Farley, erstwhile president of the American Psychological Association and prof emeritus astatine Temple University, said that humans are people fascinated with horror, some existent and fictional. Hence the true transgression boom, the horror genre’s continued success and the popularity of authors similar Stephen King.

Aubriella pushes her younger member  Dominic successful  a babe  bouncer, some  wearing Michael Myers masks.

“It’s beauteous astonishing that we person Halloween,” helium said, referring to the vacation arsenic a “national time of horror.” “It bespeaks, successful my view, the heavy quality involvement successful the acheronian broadside of life. There’s nary uncertainty we’re funny successful that.”

The Lopez kids person what Farley calls “type-T personalities” – the “T” stands for thrill-seeking. While astir of america are astatine slightest somewhat funny successful the scary, lone “T” types volition actively prosecute with it, whether it’s riding a mammoth roller coaster oregon marathoning fearfulness films. “White-bread behavior,” arsenic Farley puts it, isn’t absorbing to the “T” types, who question escapade and aren’t acrophobic to instrumentality risks, helium said.

Another crushed immoderate kids mightiness similar the institution of vampires and zombies to, say, the animated formed of “Paw Patrol” oregon the Muppet neighbors connected “Sesame Street,” is truthful they gain a badge of bravery among their peers, said Glenn Sparks, a Purdue University prof who studies the societal interaction of wide media, including scary movies.

When a young kid overhears friends, parents oregon different loved ones sermon however terrifying a movie was, they mightiness effort to brave it themselves to beryllium their courage.

“Some children whitethorn beryllium much consenting to exposure themselves to perchance scary things, possibly due to the fact that of the gratification they deliberation they volition acquisition from being capable to conquer those things,” Sparks said.

For arsenic agelong arsenic her kids person loved him, Myers has been an irreplaceable subordinate of the Lopez family, truthful overmuch truthful that the kids ticker his films regularly – connected Wednesday, they had a surviving country matinee screening of “Halloween Kills.”

Of course, present that her children’s emotion of each things “Halloween” is documented online, immoderate parents person accused her of exposing her children to fearfulness excessively young.

Dominic and Aubriella don masks from 2  of their favourite  franchises, "Scream" and "Halloween," portion    tucked underneath a "Halloween" blanket.

But introducing kids to fearfulness astatine a young property doesn’t person to traumatize them – it tin adjacent marque them much resilient people, said Stephen Graham Jones, a bestselling fearfulness writer of books including “The Only Good Indians” and “My Heart is simply a Chainsaw,” arsenic good arsenic a prof of favoritism astatine the University of Colorado, Boulder.

When Jones’ children expressed an involvement successful the genre, helium started them connected the family-friendly “Monster House” and Tim Burton’s twisted fairytale, “Edward Scissorhands,” movies that aren’t needfully scary but motion to the fearfulness genre. Eventually, they worked their mode up to fearfulness comedies and gorier fare. But the constituent helium imparts connected his children, helium said, isn’t to instrumentality distant antagonistic messages from slasher flicks successful which the villain wins – it’s to emulate the heroes.

“I don’t privation to thatch them that cruelty is to beryllium lauded,” Jones told CNN. “What I privation them to larn alternatively is that if you’re vigilant, if you fight, if you basal up for your crew, past you tin marque it done immoderate this ordeal mightiness be.”

Even the astir dedicated cosplaying kids person limits: Coral DeGraves, a 9-year-old fearfulness fan, makes regular appearances astatine instrumentality conventions successful awesome costumes inspired by the fearsome Pinhead of “Hellraiser” oregon a demented mentation of Ronald McDonald, among different scary icons. But her mother, Cheyenne, says that Coral inactive isn’t acceptable to spot immoderate of the gorier films she nods to. Her parents surface films earlier sharing them with her, and for immoderate of the much aggravated films, they’ll astatine astir stock clips of characters for inspiration alternatively than the entire, blood-soaked feature.

Horror doesn’t specify DeGraves’ child’s life, either: When Coral isn’t playing an adorably frightening Pennywise oregon possessed doll, she enjoys learning astir backyard critters oregon gathering with her Girl Scout troop.

“I ne'er recovered it hard to enactment her involvement successful horror,” Cheyenne DeGraves told CNN. “In fact, the much she learns and creates connected her own, I’m adjacent much blessed to enactment her.”

It tin beryllium isolating for Dominic and Aubriella Lopez to consciousness similar the lone fearfulness fans among their young friends, their parent said. (Lopez recalled Dominic’s 3rd birthday, erstwhile helium shocked his friends by excitedly unwrapping a Chucky doll, his favourite gift.) They’ve learned to filter themselves astir their pals truthful arsenic not to scare the different kids and prevention it for erstwhile they’re home, wherever their fearfulness habits aren’t questioned.

But present that it’s October, and the remainder of the US seems to clasp the aforesaid fanaticism for scary worldly that the Lopez kids observe year-round, Dominic and Aubriella are excited to stock their fandom without freaking retired their chap children, Lopez said.

“They cognize that astir Halloween is the clip that Michael (Myers) and Chucky and each things fearfulness travel retired – that means it’s each good to beryllium ourselves, spell each out,” Lopez said.

For Halloween this year, the Lopez household is inactive narrowing down a imaginable database of costumes. Aubriella is reasoning of dressing similar Anabelle, the haunted (and haunting!) doll introduced successful “The Conjuring.” As for Dominic, well, you tin conjecture – he’s already asked his parent for a caller Myers disguise to adhd to their increasing collection.