Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researcher Says Halloween No Laughing Matter For Many Youngsters

Date:
October 28, 2005
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Halloween may seem like so much harmless fun, a time when adults enjoy laughing in the face of death, and implore their young children to do the same. According to a Penn State researcher, however, the humor of tombstones, monsters and other scary elements is often lost on kids at the ripe age of 6 or 7 -- many of whom don't find the holiday the least bit funny.

Halloween may seem like so much harmless fun, a time when adultsenjoy laughing in the face of death, and implore their young childrento do the same. According to a Penn State researcher, however, thehumor of tombstones, monsters and other scary elements is often lost onkids at the ripe age of 6 or 7--many of whom don't find the holiday theleast bit funny.

Related Articles


Cindy Dell Clark, associate professor of human development andfamily studies at Penn State's Delaware County Campus, says parentsneed to realize that scaring the bejeebers out of kids this age isn'tnecessarily a way to make safe kids' fears of death and other thingsfrightening.

"Halloween is a time when we expose kids to behavior that isnot the norm. Children connect the holiday with death," said Clark,whose study, titled, "Tricks of Festival: Halloween, Children andEnculturation" was published recently in the anthropological journal,Ethos. "We typically distance ourselves from death and shield childrenfrom it, but in this case, young children encounter their fears whenthey face decorations of skeletons and tombstones."

Of course, not all children are intimidated by the holiday.Not only do they get all the sweets and treats they could ask for, butthey are also given the opportunity to turn traditional parent-childroles upside down--at least for a day. Halloween is whatanthropologists call a festival of inversion, a flip-flop festival whenkids get more powerful.

"Halloween is a time when children dress up in grown upcostumes and get to demand treats from the adults," said Clark."Parents see Halloween as mock power for children, but children see itas real power."

Clark's research included interviews with parents and 6- and7-year olds following Halloween in 1999, 2000 and 2001, as well asanthropological observations. The most recent studied holiday fell justsix weeks after the September 11 attacks on the United States, an eventthat changed the way some families celebrated Halloween that year.

"The terrorist attacks made many adults reevaluate scaryHalloween customs, and heightened mature angst over the holiday,already associated with urban legends of child harm," Clark said. "9/11brought out intense grown-up concern about real fears of candytampering and worse--and many adults felt there was no longer a needfor the play stuff of ghosts and goblins."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Researcher Says Halloween No Laughing Matter For Many Youngsters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050922020544.htm>.
Penn State. (2005, October 28). Researcher Says Halloween No Laughing Matter For Many Youngsters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050922020544.htm
Penn State. "Researcher Says Halloween No Laughing Matter For Many Youngsters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050922020544.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins