- Holidays and Celebrations
Fear Of Halloween - Phobias And Halloween
Halloween Fun Can Be Scary Too!
Fear of Halloween, or Samhainophobia, is just one of the phobias that frightens people in the month of October. Halloween is a fun and spooky time of year and with all it's dark themes it can also be scary. Most of us are afraid of something whether it's the dark, spiders, stepping on a crack, ghosts, or monsters under the bed. What better time to explore some of the things that can frighten us so much it makes our hair stand on end. It doesn't matter if there is a real threat or not, if you are afraid of something, it can be terrifying. I thought it would be interesting to talk about some of the things people are frightened of so I created this lens.
There is also a difference between fears and phobias. Phobias are extreme and irrational fears that cause sweating, heart palpitations, panic attacks, and more. But more about that later!
Achluophobia - Fear Of Darkness
Many children, and some adults, are afraid of the dark. They imagine spooky creatures hiding in the dark corners and it makes them think they are in danger. There is more than one term to describe fear of darkness. Achluophobia is one name, nyctophobia and lygophobia are others. This fear isn't usually a direct result of Halloween, but I thought it was well worth mentioning.
If you suffer with Achluophobia you may feel panic or terror when darkness sets. You might have feelings of dread or a rapid heartbeat. You may begin to sweat or tremor, you could also have shortness of breath.
All Fears Are Not Phobias
Arachnaphobia - The Fear Of Spiders
Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders and this phobia rears it's ugly head for many people in the month of October when Halloween decorations start to appear. Why now? Because spiders and spider webs are a huge part of Halloween decorating themes. Why do spiders frighten some people? Well, they are creepy and crawly, pretty scary to look at. I do not particularly like spiders myself, but I don't have a phobia of them. I actually think spider webs are beautiful but it would scare me to walk through one.
The sight of a spider can make some people cry and scream, some will sweat, some will even find it hard to breath. Their hearts beat faster than normal, and some people will have a panic attack.
Bogyphobia - The Fear Of The Boogeyman
I remember actually hearing people threaten children to be good or the Boogeyman will get you. I believe this phobia is something children feel. The thought of going to bed, alone, in the dark, makes those little imaginations race with terrible thoughts. I do remember an old movie, The March Of The Wooden Soldiers, where the boogeyman appeared and tried to kidnap children...thank goodness the soldiers chased all these bad guys away.
There are a few Boogeyman movies that can help keep this fear alive in kids...and some adults too. In the U.S.one of these movies, The Boogeyman, was released in 2012. In the U.K. it was called The Bogey Man. There is a TV series in the works for release on Halloween of 2018 called The Boogeyman Chronicles. So...if you aren't afraid of this monster yet, don't feel safe yet.
The symptoms of this phobia are similar to the others mentioned above. These symptoms can include feelings of extreme anxiety or dread. You may experience shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, dry mouth, and even be unable to speak.
Chiroptophobia - The Fear Of Bats
If you are afraid of bats, really afraid, you might have Chiroptophobia...the clinical name for the fear of bats. I don't have any phobias but I do admit to having been frightened by bats diving for their insect dinner on warm summer evenings. These flying mammals look a bit odd and it's a long time myth that vampires turn into bats. We picture these creepy flyers diving for our hair or worse, for our blood.
The bat is one of the most iconic Halloween symbols and that brings the fear to the surface during the month of October. You see bats everywhere during that spooky holiday time. Most bats probably suffer from peoplephobia but we aren't worried about what the bats are afraid of. Vampire bats live in South America, so we up here in the North don't have to be concerned with them. If they did live up here, it's pretty safe to say they don't want to chomp on humans anyway.
If you have this phobia you may begin to hyperventilate, have palpitations and in some cases begin to scream or cry, in addition to the feelings of anxiety or panic that phobias bring.
A Phobia Is An Anxiety Disorder
Coulrophobia - Fear Of Clowns
Aren't clowns supposed to be comical characters? With today's many horror movies featuring murderous clowns, it doesn't seem too funny. Lots of children are afraid of clowns before they ever see a scary film, but why? Well, think about it. The clown costume is an exaggeration of the body and coloring of a person. The big feet, the oversized mouth, the big nose, all can be a bit frightening if you aren't familiar with the person. It's easy to see why a small child would be frightened by this colorful, but distorted, character.
Then, of course, there are the evil clown stars of the horror films. Stephen King's IT is a remake of an older movie that is the story of Pennywise and there is The Joker of Batman fame, he's an evil character to be sure. These are only two of the many scary clown horror movies I can think of.
I just saw a video that said Coulrophobia was relatively unknown before the 1980s when Stephen King's It was published and distributed. Then they made a movie of the book in the 1990s. Thanks Stephen. The symptoms for this phobia are the same as the others - extreme fear, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and in some cases the inability to speak or move.
Elurophobia - The Fear Of Cats
Black cats are particularly frightening to some people. Perhaps it's because of old superstitions from the middle ages when cats were connected to witches and witchcraft. It was believed that witches could turn into cats and that cats were a witch's familiar. In Scottish culture it was thought that cats could steal the soul of someone who died.
Some other names for this extreme fear of cats are ailurophobia and aelurophobia. Some people have had a fearful experience with cats that have resulted in this extreme and irrational fear of cats.
Hemophobia - The Fear Of Blood
Blood is connected with some kind of injury and people who suffer from this phobia usually have suffered some kind of trauma where they have been injured or seen someone bleeding. During the Halloween season, blood is everywhere. It's on costumes, on shower curtains, in scary movies...no wonder some people are frightened by it.
I cannot imagine seeing all the bloody, scary Halloween decorations and having hemophobia. It has to be terrifying. I know I own a bathroom shower curtain and rug set that looks bloody, sort of a Hitchcock Psycho theme set. Imagine someone with this phobia going into that bathroom. I am sure it would cause a full blown panic attack.
There Are 3 Classes Of Phobias: Specific, Social and Agoraphobia
Kinemortophobia - The Fear Of Zombies
The fear of zombies, or Kinemortophobia, has grown in the past several decades thanks to movies like Night of the Living Dead and TV shows like The Walking Dead. A Zombie is a dead person who rises from the grave. These walking dead are usually mindless, flesh eating creatures who do not know right from wrong.
We can turn to respected institutions like the Center For Disease Control to find out how to survive a zombie apocalypse, a time when these dead will rise from the grave to take over the world. This fear actually originated in West Africa and the voodoo beliefs of that culture.
This phobia must have those who suffer with it on full alert around Halloween. How many zombie costumes do you see every October?
Lupophobia - The Fear Of Wolves And Werewolves
Wolves are a bit scary. They are wild animals and you should stay away from them. Werewolves are mythical creatures, men that turn into a wolf like creature when the moon is full. If you see a scary movie about werewolves, it might be frightening. If you have Lupophobia, you will probably feel terror when you see a wolf or werewolf on TV or in a movie. You might be afraid to go out for fear you might be attacked by one of these creatures. The werewolf is one of those monsters that appears more often than not at Halloween time. It's one of the classic scary costumes people like to dress up in for a costume party on Halloween.
Necrophobia - Fear Of Dead Things
Fear of dead things is known as Necrophobia. Dead things include corpses, coffins, tombstones, graveyards, funeral parlors, or even that dead things will return to torment us Halloween, once again, brings out the zombies, the graveyards, the ghosts, that keep this fear alive in some people. It can be an irrational fear, or it can be based on some life experience such as losing a family member or friend. This fear is often fed by the horror movies that are seen during the Halloween season.
Night of the Living Dead would be a movie that might set someone with Necrophobia off on an extreme panic attack. Phantasm is another scary movie that comes to mind that would have the same effects, and so is Night of the Living Dead.
Phasmophobia - The Fear Of Ghosts
Phasmophobia is the fear of ghosts and it is another Halloween related phobia. It can attack sufferers anytime of the year, but Halloween brings those afraid of ghosts and hauntings to another level. Whenever I think of ghosts and movies together, I think Poltergeist, Paranormal Activity, The Changeling, The Shining, and Insidious. Obviously, I watch a lot of ghost movies! That list is right off the top of my head.
Are there ghosts? I cannot prove there are, nor can I disprove their existence. I don't think I have ever seen one.
Many Phobias Are Caused By A Frightening Experience
Samhainophobia - The Fear Of Halloween
There are many frightening things we associate with Halloween. The long list included bats, cats, clowns, ghosts, monster costumes, scary carved pumpkins, skeletons, spiders, witches, vampires, and zombies. The release of the horror movies that comes every October helps to feed this phobia for many people. Just think of the Halloween movie franchise about Michael Myers and his killing rampage.
I am so glad I don't suffer from Samhainophobia. I love Halloween and all the spooky, scary stuff that goes along with it. I would hate to have to shrink away and hide during my favorite holiday season.
Sanguivoriphobia - The Fear Of Blood Eaters
Sanguivoriphobia means fear of blood eaters and we all know that vampires eat (drink) blood. Throughout the centuries people have believed there are vampires and with the many vampire movies available to us, I can see how some people might become afraid. Just look at the picture of that bloody vampire up above, and imagine thinking he was real.
I am a big fan of vampire movies, yes, I love Twilight and the Cullen Clan. I enjoy vampire horror movies too, and can't wait for Halloween when many of them are on TV. Vampire costumes are always popular at Halloween time and I am sure that's not a fun time for anyone who suffers from this phobia.
Triskaidekaphobia - The Fear Of The Number 13
Are you afraid of the number 13? If so, you may suffer from Triskaidekaphobia. Do you suffer from fear of Friday the 13th? Then you may suffer from Paraskevidekatriaphobia.
Why are people afraid of the number 13? It is considered to be a very unlucky number. Have you ever noticed there aren't too many hotel elevators that go to a 13th floor? The builders and planners left that number off the list. I just read that over $900,000,000.00 is lost when the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday. Why is this money lost? It is lost revenue because of the amount of people who don't like to travel or go out because they are superstitious about the date.
Wiccaphobia - The Fear Of Witches
Wiccaphobia is another fear kept alive by Halloween and by horror movies. The fear of witches, or witchcraft, is an unfounded phobia but that doesn't make it any less real for the person who suffers from it. They may realize their fears are irrational, but that doesn't make them go away.
The horror movie genre keeps the evil witch alive with movies like Rosemary's Baby, Pumpkinhead, and The Conjuring. Halloween brings these films and it also brings many different witch costumes that help keep this fear an ongoing thing for those who suffer from it.
Excessive And Unreasonable Fear Is A Phobia
Fears And Phobias
We are all afraid of something, but is your fear a phobia?
What's The Difference Between A Fear And A Phobia?
We all are afraid of something. Having fears are normal and fear is a good thing, it helps to protect us. A phobia is an excessive fear and has extreme reactions. Fears do not disrupt your life, phobias do. Fright is one thing, having a full blown panic attack from fear is another.
Phobia sufferers exhibit many symptoms including:
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Full Blown Anxiety (Panic) Attacks
- Inability To Speak
- Inability To Move
- Chest Pains
I have a great example of the difference between these two things. I was attacked by a dog and now I am afraid of dogs I don't know. When I meet a dog for the first time it takes me a little while to feel comfortable and safe with the animal. But that does happen. When I see a strange dog running loose I get nervous. I then think to myself, calm down. If the dog comes near me I tell it "NO", or "Stop". If this fear was to develop into a phobia, I would shake, cry, perhaps even be frozen in place and totally unable to help myself.
That is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg when we are discussing the difference between being afraid and being phobic. But I think you get the point.
The Phobia List
- Arachnophobia - Fear Of Spiders
- Astraphobia - Fear Of Lightning And Thunder
- Bogyphobia - Fear Of The Boogeyman
- Chiroptophobia - Fear Of Bats
- Coulrophobia - Fear Of Clowns
- Hemophobia - Fear Of Blood
- Lupophobia - Fear Of Wolves And Werewolves
- Maskaphobia - Fear Of Masks
- Necrophobia - Fear Of Dead Things
- Nyctophobia - Fear Of The Dark
- Phasmophobia - Fear Of Ghosts
- Placophobia - Fear Of Tombstones
- Samhainophobia - Fear Of Halloween
- Sanguivoriphobia - Fear Of Vampires
- Selenophobia - Fear Of The Moon
- Skelephobia - Fear Of Skeletons
- Teraphobia - Fear Of Monsters
- Wiccaphobia - Fear Of Witches