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Halloween: Why Do We Enjoy Being Scared?

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Image Credit: cohdra (Morguefile) 2015

When the nights are drawing in and it is getting darker and colder outside, Halloween comes around again to reinvigorate the senses. Whilst some people may be content to stay snuggled indoors by a fireside and carve a pumpkin at this time of year, there are others who enjoy reviving those old horror movies for a real thrill. Whether you are indeed one of those thrill seekers or more of an indoors sort of person, it is interesting to discover the science behind why some of us enjoy getting scared and frightened in the first place.

In the following three points I will highlight just some of the many health reasons why being frightened for fun in a safe environment at Halloween could actually do us some good. So if you have been putting off responding to an invite this Halloween because you are concerned about being frightened at the event, then this article may help you to make a decision on whether or not to attend your spooktacular event!


Image Credit: wintersixfour (Morguefile) 2015

1. Personality Types

It may seem natural that some people enjoy being scared when others run a mile from their fears, but what is the scientific reason for this? The answer is that it is actually directly linked to ones personality type. Those that enjoy fear, thrills and adrenaline rushes are often more creative and spontaneous in nature. They are people who enjoy using their imagination and are classed as having a ‘type T’ personality[4].

In addition, ‘type T’ individuals often enjoy taking risks, are unpredictable in their actions and yet they can be highly perceptive. They can get bored easily and enjoy trying new out new and challenging activities in life[5]. Does this sound like you? If so, you are in excellent company because the great theoretical physicist Albert Einstein[3] is said to have fitted in to this personality category.

Trick Or Treat










Image Credit: cohdra (Morguefile) 2015

If you are now intrigued to discover if you are a ‘type T’ personality then there are many quizzes[6] online that you could take.

Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear
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Below is an interesting video from Dr. Frank Farley who is a Psychologist at Temple University in Philadelphia. He describes and discusses the fascinating elements of ‘Type T Personalities’ in more detail. Although he leads on to offer advice on parenting type T children, he does explain both the positive and negative implications of having this personality type in more general terms as well.












Image Credit: southernfried (Morguefile) 2015

2. Confidence Booster

When we get through a difficult or challenging situation in life we can often develop into a stronger person because of it. This can naturally make one proud of their resilience and strength. It is in this same manner that people can get a confidence boost from being scared out of their wits at Halloween.  The reason for this is because one may feel proud and strong for getting through a scary experience and for holding ones nerve throughout the journey.

A scary experience will mean different things to different people, but for you maybe it translates as watching a really scary movie right to the end with friends or going to a Halloween party at a themed haunted house? Think about the different situations that could potentially make you scared at Halloween. Now take a moment to reflect that if you could conquer that fear that you could become a stronger person more generally in life. This could then reflect upon your ability to talk to new people, increase your confidence in your career and even enhance your personal life too.












Image Credit: pippalou (Morguefile) 2015

If you get scared at Halloween in a safe environment with friends then this could act to raise your self-esteem and confidence[2] further than normal. This is because the body releases an adrenaline rush which will make you feel excited. In addition to this, your senses could temporarily become heightened such as your sense of smell or hearing increasing.

It therefore seems quite natural for people to seek out the ‘fear factor’ at Halloween and to attend scary movie screenings or to go trick or treating with friends in the dark when we consider just how good it can make you feel to be scared!











Image Credit: keyseeker (Morguefile) 2015

3. A Bonding Experience

When you or I become scared, we may seek out reassurance and support from those around us. This could be from your partner, friends or other family members. If you are scared from something at Halloween then often a companion you are with will sense this and will probably attempt to reassure you. This is usually the case unless it is your accompanying friend who has played a practical joke on you!

Naturally, if the people around you have comforted you when you were afraid and vulnerable then this could make you admire them more and respect them further. In this way, friendships can be cultivated, developed and strengthened. However, even if they themselves are not frightened, you are still in the situation together. This mere act of ‘togetherness’ could develop a stronger sense of friendship, a united front and mutual understanding from an imposed state of adversity and fear.

The Science of Fear: How the Culture of Fear Manipulates Your Brain
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Try to enhance this sense of togetherness with your friends if you are planning on going trick or treating this year or to a Halloween party by remembering to always stay safe by keeping in a group or at least in pairs when out in the dark.

Whether you are planning to attend an exciting Halloween party and dress up in a costume this year, or to stay in with friends watching scary movies, remember that being scared in a safe environment with others could actually have some health benefits for you. From boosting your confidence to helping strengthen your friendships, Halloween can be a fun time of the year when enjoyed in a responsible manner with family and friends around you whom you love and trust.



Nov 2, 2015 11:27am
Nov 3, 2015 2:54am
Hi HLesley, thanks for stopping by, I'm glad you enjoyed the article! :-)
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  1. Web MD "Exploring Thrill-Seeking Personalities." www.webmd.com. 29/10/2015 <Web >
  2. Huffington Post "Science Of Fear." www.huffingtonpost.com. 29/10/2015 <Web >
  3. Wikipedia "Albert Einstein." www.wikipedia.org. 29/10/2015 <Web >
  4. Word On Health "Type T Personalities." www.srxawordonhealth.com. 29/10/2015 <Web >
  5. Medical Dictionary "Type T Personality." www.medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com. 29/10/2015 <Web >
  6. CBC "Are You A Type T Personality Quiz." www.cbc.ca/doczone. 29/10/2015 <Web >
  7. Wikipedia "Halloween." www.wikipedia.org. 29/10/2015 <Web >

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