In Whitehead house, horror movies were child’s play (and leprechaun..)

This is my favorite time of the year. My family loves this season and growing up there was only one way to celebrate in my house: a scary-movie marathon.

My family loves the horror genre.

My older sisters, my brother and I grew up watching scary movies.

My parents were all too lenient when it came to censoring the movies we were allowed to watch as children.

They once took my sisters, 6 and 4 at the time, to a double-feature at the drive-in: “Drop Dead Fred” and “Child’s Play.”

Thinking they would be asleep before the second movie started, my parents assumed that the kids would enjoy the first movie and then they could watch the crazy, killer doll terrorize an unsuspecting family.

Of course, my sisters were awake the entire night and were mesmerized by the possessed, homicidal doll named Chucky.

That night, my parents snuck into their room and positioned a doll to look like it was crawling into their youngest daughter’s bed.

It’s been 22 years but my sister still talks about how she cowered in her bed until sunup.

I can’t remember the first scary movie I watched, but I know I wasn’t old.

My twin brother and I haven’t shared a room since we were 6, but I distinctly remember making sure that his bed was closest to the door so I would be able to escape if the “lady in the bathtub” from “The Shining” decided to crawl out of our bathroom to strangle him in the middle of the night.

As you’ve detected, this time of year makes me nostalgic for the scary movies of my youth.

Here are a few of my favorites:

“The Shining”: I’m talking about the Steven Weber, 1997 made-for-TV miniseries. Stanley Kubrick’s version was a total joke; real fans of the book should be appalled.

Written by Stephen King, “The Shining” tells the story of the Torrance family. Jack, a recovering alcoholic, along with his wife Wendy and their psychically inclined son, Danny, takes a job as a winter caretaker at a secluded hotel rife with demonic spirits, and he gradually becomes tormented by the evil that lurks within the hotel.

The three-episode series left me with an unreasonable fear of claw-foot bathtubs.

“Leprechaun”: I’m a big fan of cheesy horror and this has to be one of the best films in that genre. This was Jennifer Anniston’s first legitimate movie credit and I’m sure she’s proud of it.

I’ve learned so many life lessons from this movie: 1) you can distract a blood-thirsty leprechaun with dusty shoes, 2) you can be pulled over by a cop while driving a play-car and 3) a pogo stick can be used as a weapon if, and only if, you’re attacking an idiot (why didn’t the shop owner just stand up?).

“Child’s Play”: Let’s forget for a second the improbability of the plot and just enjoy the adorable doll that cursed like a sailor and wielded a gigantic knife at the mother from “7th Heaven.” Although the sequels were pretty silly, this movie is a classic. I haven’t looked at a doll the same way since I first saw this movie as a wide-eyed adolescent.

“The Faculty”: I first watched this to encourage my childhood crush on Josh Hartnett, but it quickly became one of my favorites. Science-fiction stories about aliens inhabiting human bodies usually aren’t my favorite things, but this one is different than other movies: the high school drama combined with the sci-fi genre makes for one thrilling plot. It was so entertaining that my sister watched it practically non-stop for a month.

“Scream”: The teen-slasher movies comprise an awesome subset of the horror genre. Not only was “Scream” packed with thrills and allusions to classic horror films, but it was also pretty funny.

This was one of Matthew Lillard’s earliest films and he singlehandedly made this movie great. His comedic timing and lecherous character made him both lovable and loathsome.

It was also the first movie I remember seeing that shocked me with two killers. My theory that I could escape while my brother was being murdered didn’t apply anymore.

Looking back, I don’t know how I grew into a rational, sane adult after being exposed to such horrific images before the age of 12, but I can tell you that I wouldn’t exchange those moments of family fun and bonding for anything.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a movie marathon to watch.