I have vivid recollections from when I was a little girl of the things that use to scare me when I was trying to get to sleep. The fear wasn’t of monsters under the bed. It was of things that might come to life in the middle of the night and come to get me (small children and reality are clearly not bedfellows).
One of the things that was a particular source of terror was a pair of dungarees. Maroon corduroy dungarees. They had been folded and put on top of a cupboard and, in the faint light in the bedroom, I was convinced that they were creeping slowly along, sneaking up on me by stealth. Long before Wallace and Gromit thought of the potential for trousers to run amok, I was having ideas of my own.
There was also a set of curtains** with a floral print. Just before the room was dark, the pattern in the curtains took on shadowy proportions, and seemed to house lots of little gobliny faces that weren’t apparent during the day. If you ever decorate a room for a child, think of how things will look in the gloom, and what might jump out to overactive small imaginations.
While on the great totoro hunt, I came across this mural. And wondered if it might be a little risky. Much as I love totoro, and think the furry ones are very cute and friendly looking, the thought of a giant one grinning at me in the night is enough to cause a hint of insomnia even now...***
Picture: Crabfu SteamWorks on Flickr
Maybe, for kids, it’s the obvious things that are harmless, though. And the quiet, seemingly innocent things that have the potential to be awful. A bit like the way kids always seem to love films with scary bits (Labyrinth ring a bell for anybody?) and gory fairy tales.
* Come to think of it, they are still a source of terror. Growing up in the early eighties involved all kinds of fashion demons. There was an awful haircut that went along with the dungarees, too.
** A set of curtains? A pair of curtains? As somebody who has avoided having curtains (no, not because of this particular incident, just because I don’t much like them in general), I just discovered I have no idea how to refer to curtains. Probably not as ‘your royal highness’...
*** For some reason, while the pensive looking Totoros are hugely appealing, I just am a little unsure of them when they smile. A little like labradors. You're just not quite sure what they're up to...