My kids go up to these characters and high five them, shake hands, and laugh. I know they like horror movies and they have been exposed to them, but more importantly the know the difference between pretend and real. They understand that the movies and characters are there to scare us, but they aren't real. The like to be scared and laugh at the same time. I wish other people would educate their kids about what is pretend and real. Not just because of movies, but to develop those parts of their minds so they can be creative and enjoy themselves without requiring outside stimulation to do so.
I am fanatical about zombies. I saw Night of the Living Dead when I was 6 years old. As I grew up, the first thing I would think when I walked into a building was, "How can this be defended against zombies?" I never had intense fears or nightmares, they always facinated me. Now, as an adult, I know that the zombie apocalypse is just a medium for the destruction of humanity due to something man made. But that doesn't stop me from quoting the Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks or things I have learned from zombie movies. I have a zombie plan for my house, for where to go locally, and even where I am going if I have to leave the state with all cardinal directions covered. My wife laughs and humors me about them, but now my kids have been bitten by the zomibe bug (pun definately intended). Next year my kids want us to shamble as a zombie family for Halloween, my oldest wants to go visit the graveyard near my step-mother's childhood home in Pittsburg, Pa where the filmed part of the original Night of the Living Dead, and she wants to join the zombie walk either here in NJ or in Pa. I am so pround they can enjoy the odd things in life and use their imaginations to understand that the "scary" guys next door to us do it for fun, and not to be scary.