How To Make Friday 13th Less Scary - Ooh, Interesting! Fascinating Facts

July 13, 2018

Happy Friday 13th! Is that a thing? That you wish someone a ‘happy’ Friday 13th? If you’re superstitious, you may do but it’s also just as likely that you may steer well clear of anything to do with the day. You’ll avoid black cats, ladders and here’s hoping you won’t break a mirror. But how do you make Friday 13th less scary for children? A top entertainer in the US came up with an excellent idea.

If you are addicted to the Internet – as many of us are these days  - you may have come across the work of Mr. Fred Rogers. In the US, he’s a hugely famous man that every adult looked up to when they were children. Hosting a television show that can perhaps be compared to Playdays in the UK, he taught children how to be good, never had a bad word to say about anybody and even had a documentary about his life released last month. Unfortunately, he died in 2003 but if anything, Mr Rogers' legacy continues to grow with Tom Hanks rumoured to be playing him in a forthcoming biopic. Can you think of anything more wholesome than that? (2019 update: It's out in just a few months!)

When it comes to Friday 13th, Mr Rogers wanted the day to be less scary for children. Knowing that kids are influenced by their parents and the environment that they inhabit, he had a fair idea that some may grow up to fear superstitions and he felt that if he could make the world just a little less scary for them, then he had done his job. With this in mind, he came up with a puppet of a King whom he called King Friday 13th.

Every Friday 13th on his television programme, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (which ran from 1968-2001!), viewers were invited to celebrate the birthday of King Friday 13th. How can a birthday be scary or something to fear? Exactly! Children were invited to contact the show and celebrate the King’s birthday and that’s exactly what happened every single Friday 13th. You can watch a clip of Mr. Rogers recalling the invention of the puppet below. 

So next time you or your children feel a little anxious when it’s Friday the 13th, just remember that it’s King Friday’s birthday and everything will be all right.



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By Henry Fosdike