Halloween is coming. That leads to talk of really scary things. My current favorite book on the topic is not a Halloween book at all but a good-for-any-day picture book titled Some Things Are Scary, by Florence Parry Heide. It is a random collection of pages each describing something children fear illustrated with wacky pen and marker pictures that bring fears that don’t immediately seem scary in print to full fear-filled reality. Rather than read the book in order, I’d select a few pages to read and discuss. At Halloween I’d start with “Thinking about a big bird with big teeth who might swoop down and carry you away is scary.” That would probably lead to listing other Halloweeny monstrous possibilities. From there I’d go to something everyday like “Seeing something on your plate you know you’re not going to like is scary.” or “Skating downhill when you haven’t learned how to stop is scary.” Finally, I’d select one or two of the inside-me fears like “Finding out your best friend has a best friend who isn’t you is scary.” or “Having your best friend move away is scary.” All of that fear sets the stage for a gift that we can hug to our chests when we are scared. It is an invisible gift, a fact about the whole world. That fact is that the whole world was made by God, God is more powerful than anything else in the universe, AND God loves you. You might even print this on a cardstock heart for children to put inside their shoe on Halloween or other scary days.
NOTE: this book was recently republished. You may be able to find a copy of the original (probably very worn!) in the public library. As far as I can tell there were no changes in art or print content. But, I suspect you will want a copy of your own - and maybe an extra to share. I see it not only as a program and worship resource, but as a pastoral care resource for talking with children facing all sorts of scary situations. Only $6.99 in paperback at Amazon.com.