Rule #2: Take Young Children to Funeral Homes

creepy funeral home

Extremely creepy funeral home. Take your kid here.

Dead people and funeral homes get a bad rap. Neither are all that horrible, when you think about it. And introducing your child to both will positively influence their impressionable young minds.

In fact, we were so taken with this notion that we made a quick list of things dead people in funeral homes aren’t likely to do to bring anyone down:

1. Talk endlessly about episodes of “Lost.”

2. Insert trendy hip-hop lyrics into normal conversations.

3. Vote for libertarian candidates and skew general elections.

4. Mow their lawn prior to 9am on a weekend (or ever again).

5. Laugh at the end of each of their sentences for no good reason.

6. Insist on the superiority of the metric system for all weights and measures.

Dead people also have limited mobility, which makes them safe. Therefore, they won’t wobble and fall on your children like nearly dead people. And while Uncle Monty, powdered and dead and unflinchingly blue, can’t bounce your 5 year old on his lap or slip him a 10 spot any longer, his stony face in the casket will never escape your child’s memory. Yes, often for a lifetime.

So for all these reasons, and to help your children see the other side of the life equation, it’s always a great idea to take them to funeral homes to see old dead people.

Old Dead People Offer Teachable Moments

As parents, we’re forever looking for opportunities to reflect with our children about life’s black-and-white, or teachable, moments. It’s our obligation to point out success and failure, and how each is a consequence of really good (“Hey, I like wearing pants in public”) or really bad (“Hey, I like exposing myself in public”) decisions.

The same applies to death and what Uncle Monty accomplished before things grew, well, kind of dim and cold. As much as games like Super Mario stimulate young minds, there’s nothing more dramatic than seeing a mound of flesh plugged with embalming fluid—which gives you the opportunity to espouse religion (“Bless him, Uncle Monty saw God’s work in his paperclip collection”), healthy eating habits (“The man ate way too much undercooked rabbit meat”), and forgiveness (“He once dropped his dentures down the back of my bathing suit when I was a teenager, but I forgave him”).

pastel dinner mints

Dinner mints at funeral homes: Worth the price of admission.

To combat the effects of close talking, most funeral homes also offer mints, always a favorite of young children. See a dead relative, get a mint—it’s a winning combination that will massage the psyches of your young children for years.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

GM1971 October 29, 2008 at 12:58 pm

In the 1800′s and prior to that, families would picnic at the graveyard and have wakes in their homes. Death is a fact of life – although it is the last fact – and there is no sense in hiding it from children. Many cultures still celebrate death and the afterlife, such as the Mexican’s with Cinqo de Maya. I may have spelled that wrong.


Sandwiched November 4, 2008 at 10:24 am

Great idea! I’ve done this with my kids a couple of times.

@gm1971 BTW, you did misspell the Mexican holiday commemorating the dead. It’s spelled D-I-A D-E L-O-S M-U-E-R-T-O-S. :)


omber April 4, 2009 at 7:36 am

When we were kids, my brother and I played hide-and-seek in the caskets at our great uncle’s funeral parlor. Oh…such fond memories.


Crystal June 23, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Just a little note. The idea of “picnic at the graveyard” is not as old as many people may think. It may be a bit different nowadays. Whenever someone in my family dies we all gather at someone’s house (usually the spouse of whoever died). Everyone brings a dish and stories are told about the person that died. I always found the after-funeral (instead of after-party…sorry my lame attempt at a joke! lol) a lot more comforting than the wake at the funeral home.


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