They’re baaack! Those pesky visitors that always over-stay their welcome arrived at our house again.  They were here several months ago but I thought we were able to get rid of them for good. They not only keep us up all night but they also rack up our electric bill. If you ever drive past our house in the wee hours you’d think we were nuts. Our entire front hall and upstairs is illuminated with lights from the hallway, the kids’ bathroom and my son’s closet.

Oh, I’m not talking about in-laws (ha, ha, ha). I’m talking about my son’s imaginary closet monsters.

These monsters popped in a few months ago and we cannot get them to leave. Plus they invade his sugarplum dreams every now and them – making it impossible for any of us to get a good night’s sleep (not to mention the dilemma we still battle with this post). It’s a nightmare all over again.

What’s crazy is that my son is usually the one who is obsessed with all things dark and macabre. He’s five, yet things that would normally spook a child just roll off his shoulders. I have to continually remind myself of those pests in his closet because he’s a master negotiator when it comes to watching scary stuff on TV.

It all started with the movie “Monster House” which then progressed to “Coraline.” Both of my kids were obsessed with those movies and could not get enough. But this was before the monsters arrived.

Then came the begging to see Jurassic Park and King Kong (both of which he caught glimpses of in movie previews). Don’t worry – I did not relent. There were tears, but it was also before the monsters arrived.

The fascination continued. His love for eerie movies turned to freaky books, and we always left the library with arms full of scary stories. Nothing seemed to affect him, and I was a little worried. I knew it all this was someday going to catch up to him somehow. But still there were never any monsters in his closet.

And then believe it or not – what finally opened the can of scary worms on my son – was watching the movie “Soul Surfer.” Who would have thought? Parents think it has a wonderful underlying message (which it really does), but all that kids see and remember (at least mine, for that matter) is that nasty shark attack scene.

First came the questions. “Mommy, what do you think hurts worse – a shark bite or a bear bite?” Or “Mommy, do sharks eat people for food? What else do they eat? Where do sharks live? Are they near Granny’s house? Do they swim in the waves at the beach?”

Then came the nightmares, along with a flood of fears for a million other things. Bears in the woods. Being alone in the dark. Tyrannosaurus Rex’s teeth. Even the bad guys from those CPI Security commercials! You name it, the monsters officially arrived and they don’t seem to be leaving anytime soon.

Do you battle with these same closet monsters? How do you keep them from coming out in the middle of the night (in the form of nightmares)? Do you have a special bedtime routine, or bad dream song or prayer (yes, we even tried this to no avail!)? Please share your tips and advice!