Confession: I once punched my mom in the face at a costume shop.
I was seven years old, and she had taken me to look for a Halloween outfit. Some time after entering the store, she decided to put on a mask from the movie Scream—a film I had only seen commercials for, but that struck fear into the very root of my soul.
The worst part is, I knew it was her at the time.
I watched as she slid the mask over her head and leaned down into my face. She shouted, "Boo," and my response was to sock her in the ghoulish mouth region with an involuntary, seven-year-old jab.
It was pure animal reflexes, and I started crying when I realized what I had done. But the sight of the mask scared the living grease out of me and triggered some deep-seated, fight-or-flight mechanism I had never even known existed.
The point is, we all had our childhood hangups. Yours might've been big dogs, hypodermic needles or the bogeyman that hung out behind the shower curtain in your bathroom. Mine was adults in costume, namely clowns and horror movie characters.
I have conquered this fear, but adults in goofy outfits remain one of the most universal phobias for young children. The following are sports mascots making kids cry, and some of us understand their terror all too well.