Halloween is a season of celebration, where people engage in fun activities like fancy dress, pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating. Halloween is generally seen as a time of fun and joviality, but with it comes a number of associative phobias. Harley Street Phobia Guru Adam Cox has identified certain phobias that can particularly surface around Halloween as a result of trick-or-treaters, including the fear of masks (maskaphobia), ghosts (phasmophobia), witches (wiccaphobia), and the dark (nyctophobia).
Trick-or-treating is a largely harmless tradition, where children go from door to door in search of sweets. However, it comes with a major disclaimer: having fun is acceptable, anti-social behaviour is not. Various police forces have issued warnings ahead of Halloween, with some even distributing cards for people to place on their door should they not want trick-or-treaters. Age UK have also spoken of the ‘pumpkin rule’, which advises that people only go to houses where there is a lit pumpkin outside.
Yet not everyone complies with this advice, which Adam says can be hugely detrimental for those with certain phobias: “For those with maskaphobia or wiccaphobia an innocent knock at the door from a trick or treater could cause anything from mild anxiety to a full-blown panic attack. Since this year we’ve since the second part of the movie IT: Chapter 2, many people will be dressing up as Pennywise the Clown, a nightmare for those suffering from coulrophobia – a fear of clowns”.
The trick-or-treating tradition shows no signs of abating, having been around since the 9th century. People should enjoy Halloween but be mindful that not everyone will be engaging in the revelry. To knock on the door of an unwelcoming house could exacerbate the phobia of someone living within. As Adam explains: “My advice to parents is to encourage children to only knock on doors which have obvious Halloween decorations. This represents an invite to trick or treat. Those people that have severe phobias won’t want people knocking on doors and therefore won’t have Halloween decorations. Encourage children to show empathy for those that don’t see Halloween as fun by only trick or treating those homes that would welcome it”.
The Halloween season will be a perennial source of dread for some, as the possibility of being exposed to their phobia looms large. Adam is on hand to help those people: “As a hypnotherapist based in Harley Street, many people aren’t able to afford my services. To make my services accessible to as many people as possible I’m currently offering a free audio download that will give people tips and resources to make immediate progress and improvement on their fears or phobias surrounding Halloween”.
To get the free download you’ll need to visit www.phobiaguru.com.