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Hey, Mom and Dad: When Is It OK for Kids to Start Watching Scary Movies?

Parents, Patch wants to hear from you on the questions that get families talking.

Welcome to "Hey, Mom and Dad"—a weekly feature in which we ask our Facebook fans to share their views on parenting. Every week, we get the conversation started by taking a look back at a question we asked parents the week before on Patch Facebook pages from around the area.

As Halloween approaches, the movie channels start screening old horror movies and new slasher flicks are in plentiful supply at theaters. Your kid asks to go see a scary movie at the theater with friends, but they're barely out of grade school. Do you let them go?

That leads us to this week's question:

What's the appropriate age for kids to start watching scary movies?

Take a look at what people had to say and join the conversation in the Comments section.

Michele Prestler Gustin: Never! Real life is scary enough! ;) — Batavia Patch Facebook

Sue Stozek Mayeda: When they feel they're ready. — Glen Ellyn Patch Facebook

Julie Beck: I think when your child shows interest or asking questions about them. My son started watching some of the less scary movies around 10 /11 and he just started getting into the really scary movies a few months ago around his 13th birthday. Of course, I watch them with him (which is cool because I love scary movies). It's really up to what they can handle. We don't do the slasher flicks here, he's not interested yet or ready. — Lisle Patch Facebook

Jan Rueffer Brones: Why is it there has to be an "appropriate age"? You know you're children and you know what they can handle. There isn't always and "appropriate age". Some kids won't be ready for scary movies until they are 12..others can handle them, no problem by 7. And yet there's some that even in adulthood, can't handle them. There is no "appropriate age." — Naperville Patch Facebook

Pong Sayasane: I think 10 and up, but not the bloody kind. My brother, who has no children, let them watch a scary movie with him without my consent a couple years ago. They went back to wanting night lights and hallway lights on for weeks at ages 8 & 10! — St. Charles Patch Facebook

Evelyn Pacino Sanguinetti: My 12 year old said 9. She also thinks Freddy Kruger is a big girly boy. — Wheaton Patch Facebook

So what's your take? At what age are kids mature enough to handle a horror film? Tell us in the comments below.

Beth Bales October 09, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Watch out for ET! I think there's an entire generation of 22- 25-year-olds still traumatized by him...
Melissa Pazen October 09, 2012 at 02:24 PM
It's important to be with our children and monitor how they handle scary movies. "How old" depends on your child's personality. My daughter loves surprises & fright. She started watching these with friends & me all about them at about 11. She had begged for ferris wheels and roller-coasters from the age of four. My son still avoids being startled whenever possible. Developmentally, young ones take a while to separate reality from fantasy/untruths/etc. I've yet to know a child younger than seven (7) who could handle something frightening. I also have a friend who said that "Hook" was hard on her sons (9 and 7) because they worried about the dad when he was stuck in Hook's net. She stopped the movie (dvd) and talked with them about fantasy.
KC October 09, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I'm pretty sure I saw the movie "It" when I was about 6 years old. Being the youngest of three it was hard to say I couldn't do something when my older siblings were. Although I will forever be afraid of clowns because of that movie, I will also forever be a horror movie fan! But I agree, I think it depends on the child and not the age. I was ok starting at a young age and others might not be. And just to be clear, it was not my parents who let me watch "It." A babysitter allowed that movie choice. If I remember correctly my parents were not thrilled.
bill trudeau October 09, 2012 at 04:43 PM
"They all float..."
KC October 09, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Thanks for the "It" flashback...thoroughly terrified now! haha
H.I. McDunnough October 09, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Any flick on Son of Svengoolie is ok for kids. Heck, I grew up on a steady diet of that stuff and I'm juuuuust fine.
CGeneva72 October 09, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Ha! That and Elvira!

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