The mask versus the Christmas tree: The odd fear (and love) of a three-year-old

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (FTN) – Parents say their three-year-old’s odd fears and likes are on full display ahead of the holiday season.

Parents Chris and Ami Essex say their son first became afraid of Christmas trees last year when they set up a little tree for Alex to decorate.

“He loved Christmas trees at first. We put it on top of his ‘Lightning McQueen,’ or Cozy Coupe as most people know them. He drove around with it strapped to the top. But I think it touched him, and the touch really weirded him out. Ever since then, he has been afraid of them,” Ami said.

This story has two parts, though.

In the late 1990s, a scary Halloween mask made its way into Chris’ Michigan home. High school aged Chris, and his friend Mark used that mask to nearly traumatize his preschool age brother, David Essex.

Left: A photo of David Essex as a young child Right: A current photo of David

“Looking back on it, I wasn’t proud of the fact I scared David with it so much. It was fun at the time. I would hide it in his toys, wear it. It was a pretty scary mask,” Chris said.

David talked with FTN about the mask.

“My brother terrorized me as a child. He would just leave it laying around the house waiting for me to walk into it,” David said.

Recently, David cleaned out an old storage shed of his mom’s and came across the old mask.

Chris told us he brought the mask home and showed it to his wife, where she threatened him if he wore it around Alex.

“I told him I would kill him if he wore it around Alex and gave him nightmares. He was under strict orders to keep it out if site of Alex,” Ami told us.

That all changed the next day when Chris and Ami were reading to Alex in their semi-dark bedroom before Alex’s bedtime.

“So, Alex say the mask on our dresser. He wanted it. He wanted to hold it and then wear it. And then he wanted Ami and I to each wear it,” Chris laughed.

Chris and Ami say Alex started loving the mask. Wanting to wear it to scare other people, or to be chased by someone wearing it.

David said Alex is somebody he likely would not want to mess with someday.

“That mask scared me. But here’s Alex, literally laughing at it. If he’s laughing at zombie masks as a child, what’s he going to be like as an adult? Probably not someone I want to mess with,” David said.

That bring us back to the Christmas tree. Parents say while Alex loves the scary mask, he will not go near a Christmas tree.

“We put it to the test at Lowe’s last weekend. We had to convince him to walk even near one. He wanted nothing to do with it. He was scared,” Chris said.

Parents say they both feel bad for Alex and think it’s funny.

“Look, I don’t love that he is afraid of something, but if his biggest fear is a Christmas tree…I’ll take it,” Ami said.

They aren’t sure how Alex will take it as Christmas nears, but say right now…he is loving Halloween.

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