For many people Halloween is their favourite celebration of the year but, for others, spooky season is the most terrifying thing… and not because trick or treaters are dressing up as ‘scary’ cats.
Some people are actually so scared of Halloween it turns into a phobia, and the lead up to 31 October can trigger heightened and genuine fear.
Let’s discover whether this phobia relates to you and what the fear of Halloween is called.
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What is the fear of Halloween called?
Catherine Blackmore explained in an interview with Newsweek that she suffers from samhainophobia and revealed the impact it has on her.
“I know I only have a limited time before things start to change. For instance, as soon as the stores begin stocking Halloween items such as masks, costumes and decorations I know I can no longer go into town,” she said.
Part of Catherine’s phobia sees her imagining “spooky stuff” at the supermarket is coming to life and it has made her so anxious she has been sick.
Do you have this rare phobia?
One way to tell if you have samhainophobia is if you experience a feeling of choking or a tight chest on or around Halloween. These could be signs of a panic attack. You may also experience dizziness and a sense of depersonalisation relating to Halloween content. Please remember, though, if you are worried about any symptoms such as this, immediately seek medical advice.
It is unclear exactly how many people suffer from samhainophobia but it is estimated 9.1 per cent of adults in the US have it. This suggests the phobia is not as rare as people might think. You are not alone!
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Why does this phobia develop?
Samhainophobia can often develop if you suffer from other spooky-related fears such as phasmophobia – fear of ghosts. Alternatively, you may suffer from wiccaphobia (fear of witchcraft) or nyctophobia (fear of darkness).
However, if you do suffer from samhainophobia there are ways you can receive help.
Many psychologists use exposure techniques to gradually desensitise the intense anxiety Halloween can cause. This introduces someone suffering from the phobia to fear-provoking situations until the patient basically stops finding them scary.
Relaxation techniques can also help, while some people with samhainophobia are even prescribed anti-anxiety medicinal products.