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Dark and spooky: Why kids need a safe scare–and where to get one this school holidays

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DB_GreatBigDark_FB Ad Post Twitter Post.jpgIt’s dark. There are spooky hoots and crackles, talk of monsters, rapping noises, creaking sounds…

This is scary stuff. I’m scared just writing about it.

But it’s also safe. You’re surrounded by friends, they’re cracking jokes and you’re giggling. It’s exciting to feel scared. You hold your neighbour’s hand or cuddle in tight. You jump with surprise, laugh with relief.

Where, oh where?

There aren’t many places your kids can go to get a safe scare these days. But I think it’s vital that kids learn how to be scared, how to face their fear and get through it.

I’m not suggesting a weekly family viewing of The Walking Dead. (I’m not at all a fan of terror and violence and gore. And I don’t think our kids should be either! I can’t believe how many kids have seen movies I would never watch in a million years.)

I’m suggesting good, clean spooky fun. Torches. Moonlight. Ghost noises (made by your sister). More ghost noises (made by your mum). The kind of thrill you get from reading late at night under your covers, racing through page after page, hoping and wishing that the good guys will triumph and the bad guys will get their due.

I can’t imagine my life without exciting books. Without danger and fighting and escapes and giants and monsters. I certainly don’t want any of these things in my *real* life. But just reading about them takes me on a ride that also introduces courage and loyalty, tenacity and friendship. Reading about heroes coping with hardship helps me to believe I too can get through tough times. It’s important our kids know this too.

Two great reads

There’s a couple of terrific articles I’d love you to read. One is about Andy and Terry and the importance of freedom and wilderness in our children’s lives.

The other is by soon-to-be-debut author-illustrator Fiona Burrows. It’s called The Child and The Dark. It’s about the need for us to embrace the darkness. It’s moving and magnificent. As a taster, Burrows quotes Neil Gaiman’s opinion of the dark:

“I think if you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up. I think it is really important to show dark things to kids — and, in the showing, to also show that dark things can be beaten, that you have power. Tell them you can fight back, tell them you can win. Because you can — but you have to know that.


So, if you’re looking for something dark and spooky and safe to do with your kids this school holidays, do youself a favour and grab yourself a ticket to this fun family event.

The Big Dark and Spooky Book Read is exactly that: Held at the State Library of WA on Wednesday October 3, the show features five children’s book creators reading spooky bits from their latest books.

And one is me!

There’ll be marshmallows on sticks. There’ll be walkie-talkies in the dark. There’ll even be (spoiler alert!) talk of monsters, rapping noises and maybe even some creaking sounds. It’ll be exciting and spooky and you can grab your tickets here.

PS: You get a free copy of your choice of book with your ticket!!!


Author: cristyburne


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