Freaking out the Kids

17 September 2016

…where her dad and I took a bowl full of lollies into her bedroom, shut the door and pretended to be strangers so she and her three-year old sister could trick or treat in their own house.

Now, both my husband and I are actors so we like to think that we have a bit of an advantage when it comes to certain things as parents. Sure, we may not always be able to provide a secure and stable existence for our children financially, but when it comes to role-playing in our house, we know that we can bring it!

My husband went into the girls’ room first. He closed the blinds to make it pitch black then proceeded to transform into his tried and true role of “grumpy old man character” – a particular favourite in our household, and not dissimilar to Grandpa Simpson. The girls got dressed up in their fairy outfits, skipped down the hallway, baskets in hands and knocked on their bedroom door.

“Who is it?!” Mike shouted in his most cantankerous tone and pulled the door open. The girls gave a scream of laughter when they saw that he’d put a torch up to his face and was pulling a suitably cranky face. Mike continued to dole out lollies, complaining loudly the whole time about being harassed by annoying children when he was just trying to have a nap. The scene ended with him slamming the door in their faces and yelling at them to “GO AWAY!” It was a rousing success and the girls loved every minute of his amazing role-playing skills.

“Your turn now, Mum!” they shouted.

Never one to be outdone, I knew I’d have to up the stakes if I was to compete with that award-worthy performance, so I quickly made the decision to be a witch. But not just any old witch…not your nice Samantha Stevens, or Meg from Meg and Mog kind of witch, but an ugly, screeching, hunched over high-pitched cackling witch of the scariest order. Mike’s crotchety octogenarian would have nothing on my evil old crone!

It started well.

“Who is it?” I asked in my sweetest old lady’s voice when the girls knocked on the door.

“TRICK OR TREAT!” the unsuspecting victims called out.

Once I’d opened the door and dished out a couple of lollies, I gently herded them into the room and towards the wardrobe, promising them many more delicious treats if they would just come with me. Quick as a flash I pushed them into the wardrobe, shut the door and let loose with a piercing cackle of sheer nastiness. It took all of about two seconds before the wardrobe door flew open and my terrified three-year-old shot past me and out of the bedroom, screaming loud enough to wake the dead , although, being Halloween and all, most of them were probably up and about anyway.

I looked down at my seven-year-old, still hunched over in the wardrobe, and gave an embarrassed grin, “Oops. Think I scared Abbie.”

“Mum,” she said. “Even I’m a bit freaked out right now. That was full on.”

I found the three-year-old sobbing hysterically in our brightly lit kitchen, glancing at me with fear in her eyes, clinging to my husband who was shaking his head from side to side, a mixture of pity and disappointment on his face. It took him about twenty minutes to calm the three-year-old down, and a further ten minutes before she’d come near me. When Abbie finally let me cuddle her, I tried my best to reassure her, “Sorry darling, it’s just me.” She looked at me, red-eyed and still shaking slightly, “You don’t be a witch anymore! Just mummy.” Fair enough I guess.

I think you could safely say that I learnt my lesson about freaking out my kids that night, even though I have to admit to a certain amount of pride in the knowledge that not only did I hold my own against grouchy Grandpa Simpson…I kicked his wrinkly arse!


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