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BOO! Its happening again…


This time of year is NOT our favorite.

photo by She Saw Things Photography


This is heartbreaking because we’re an autumn loving crew. The harvest time, pumpkin patches, soups & stews, sweaters, pants, boots… This is a time that the McDowner’s would love to celebrate fully and without challenges!

Not so fast… There’s this big, scary, gory, horrifying, disturbing, ghastly trend that seems to be getting more extreme as each year passes.

It’s called Halloween and in 2012 they seem to be ‘turning it up a notch’.

September arrived and it seemed to start out pretty positive. Zoë started getting her Halloween costume ready a month ago and Sam has been talking about ‘Haddoweenuh’ since the catalogs have arrived.

It was October 1st when it all came to a screeching halt.

The newest line-up of disemboweled, dismembered, decomposing, compound fractures, blood drenched, blood soaked crap in the name of ‘Halloween’ has arrived.

We have, as you know, a daughter who is a neuro-typical 9 year old. We also have a 7 year old boy with ASD and Executive Function challenges. BOTH kids are terrified.

So, both Jen and I are ‘gearing up’ for another exhausting October. It’s filled with things like:

  • Having to find different streets to take that don’t have as many horrifying decorations
  • Choosing what stores to enter, where to enter them, and which parts of the store to avoid
  • Providing new tools to Sam so that he can shield his eyes, recover from a panic, or feel safe
  • Creating a new set of ‘safe’ Halloween celebrations in an attempt to redirect Sam’s fears

These are just the challenges that we face. These are similar to the challenges many families face with kids who have special needs and kids who don’t have them.

I’ve written about this before. It seems like my 3rd annual ‘curmudgeon’ post regarding Halloween. If I step back, I find humor in how much I sound like an old man who’s shaking his cane at the young whipper snappers on my lawn. But then I step back further and see that I’m more rational than I think.

At what point did we decide that the glorification of these things is ‘cool’? When was it that demonic baby dolls covered in blood, or dismembered torsos became the new ‘it’ thing? How about the commercials in prime time that show the scary imagery at the local haunted houses? Thankfully we’re still in the process of weaning all of us off the TV.

There’s a lot of great information and help out there if you’re experiencing the same things. Here’s a shameless plug for Jen’s recent contribution to NW Kids magazine (a free publication here in the Portland Metro Area). Jen talks about these things and gets advice from Barbara Avila of Synergy Autism Center.

photography by She Saw Things Photography

We’ll keep you updated on the things we do to make the next few weeks better!



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October 5, 2012 - 8:30 pm

Katherine Mortenson Weller - I can SO relate. We used to have neighbors that made their yard more gory each year. Our poor Matthew didn’t even want to go outside. We were grateful when they moved. I will be interested in what you do over the next few weeks. Good luck!

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