Starting a holiday off with child abuse, that's the way to go in my books.
Story Time! Tell a story (if you even have one) of a child character getting knocked around, whether by the players or by NPC's.
I actually kind of have an example of this myself, though not in the usual fashion. So you guys know the question I was asking a couple pages ago regarding that gear for a Dragon, right? Well there's a reason for that, specifically that the character I've designed it for is a young dragon. I found an interesting tidbit in the Draconomicon when I was reading up on D&D dragons in that it's perfectly within canon to play younger dragons as childish or immature, because that's exactly what they are: child dragons. Unfortunately my group only has affection for one kind of child: the kind that can't talk. Poor Light has been lambasted as stupid, a failure, and "not acting like a real dragon" just because he doesn't have the thought processes of a fully grown adult, (he also got taken down in one hit by a giant skeleton monster that rolled 2 Nat 20's in one attack roll, totally not his fault but the party doesn't let him live it down) which I find unfortunate but what can you do?
Oh, I have a story about child abuse, alright. MWAHAHAHAHA!
This is the story of six children, on a Halloween like any other. There was Mike, Jane, and Linda, an older brother and his two sisters. Joe was a small, nervous kid from out of town. Louis and David were the oldest and biggest, and they were cousins. They were brought by their parents to a haunted house made out of an old mansion, and the yard behind it. The kids were sent in, excited about the promise of candy. All of them were excited except for Joe, who needed coaxing by the other kids.
They entered, and everything seemed rather dull at first. Spooky noises, dimly lit rooms, and vaguely creepy atmosphere. It was nothing they hadn't seen before. Then they found a door with a metal bar across it and a sign saying 'DO NOT ENTER'. Mike laughed and said, "Don't be babies. I'll bet you this is where they're playing the lame sound effects." The others urged him not to, but he slid the bar aside, and opened the door.
There, behind the door, was a monster. It was as big as a horse, and it had a wolf's head and body, with a snakelike body down below. It had two massive, rending claws on either side, all at the shoulders. As soon as the door was opened, they heard the snarls and growls. The creature turned its head and looked directly at them, no eyes in its head. The growling stopped, and everything was silent. Then they heard a whisper. "I will eat you."
The beast began to claw its way toward them, and it was bathed in blue fire. They ran for it, toward the exit. They made it to the back door of the old mansion, and shut the door, barely escaping the creature. Through the door windows, they could see the creature watch them for a few unbearably long moments, before turning and wandering off. They breathed a sigh of relief as they walked nervously through the cheesy graveyard tents, with the corny plastic headstones.
After navigating the tents, they found it was a bit like a maze. Then they heard a shout. They looked at the back, and there was a hand reaching out of a grave and grabbing Joe by the ankle. It yanked his foot out from under him, and began to drag him into the dirt. Joe screamed for them to help him, but by the time they had recovered their wits, the earthy grave had swallowed him up. An arm reached out of another grave, and they bolted for it, reaching the end as fast as they could in abject terror.
Their parents were waiting there for them. Raxon, who was running the haunted house, gave each child a whole bag of candy. They noticed Joe's mom wasn't there. Louis spoke up "Where is Joe's mom?" Raxon cocked his head, puzzled. "Who? I don't know anyone named Joe." "The boy that went in with us!" He smiled, and calmly said, "Nonsense, it was only you five to enter. Run along now."
As they left, they saw Joe with another group of kids, getting ready to enter the haunted house.
I didn't actually see that one coming.
Raxon was told to give the kids a good scare. He scared them to the best of his abilities without expending excessive resources. The monster chased them, always making sure to be half a step behind them. Joe was a plant, one of Raxon's drones.
You just know that the next day at school, every last one of those kids is gonna be bragging at school about how awesome the haunted house was, but, of course, they weren't scared at all, cause they're brave.
Honestly...that sound like the buildup for a future endgame boss. Basically it all stacks up over time before he finally snaps starts screaming at them about how it's not his fault that these mortal adults who should know better are dragging around a child and then blaming him for being young, immature and less skilled than an adult dragon, lighting their gear on fire and turning sides to study under the nearest evildoer in a misguided but justified bid for revenge.
...at least that's how I'd take things. Hey if your other partymembers can't appreciate a member who's doing their best it'll usually come around and bite them in the ass one way or another. usually at a critical moment. I personally have rorshach'd a few members of my gaming group simply because it would be in character for them to not save the character that has been tormenting them for x number of weeks on the road.