Imagine that it’s Halloween eve, and you are dressed in your costume: a black cape, a blood-red shirt, slicked back hair, and of course, the fangs. Your Count Dracula costume looks amazing as you admire yourself in the mirror. After taking one last look, you pick up the phone call one of your friends and confirm that he was coming over. He’d been a little hesitant, but you’re sure he’ll come around. He picks up the phone after the third ring, and nervously stutters, “I. . .I. . I really can’t come. I have . . . stuff that I need to do – really important . . . stuff.” You get the message, and, frustrated, mutter, “Oh, okay then. Bye.” You head downstairs, wondering why your friend doesn’t want to spend the evening with you.
Although it’s hard to say for sure, your friend may be suffering from samhainophobia, or the fear of Halloween. An irrational fear, its name comes from a celebration called Samhain, which was believed to be a sort of “day of the dead,” in Ireland and Scotland. Samhainophobia can occur because of various reasons, including already-present fears, such as the fear of kids (pedophobia), cats (ailurophobia), ghosts (phasmophobia), the dark (nyctophobia), or even the fear of people (sociophobia). People may also fear Halloween because of a traumatic event that occured in the past, such as the death of a loved one on October 31st. However, phobias can be inherited, too, so samhainophobia could be caused by genetics.
There are several sympotms of any given phobia, depending on its severity, as well as the ability of the person with the phobia to handle it. These symptoms may include anxiety and panic, which can cause rapid or irregular breathing, sweating, mouth dryness, and nausea.
Fortunately, treatment for samhainophobia is very possible. Psychologists think that if it is caused by other fears, then curing those fears may just remove the fear of Halloween. However, even if there are no base fears, it can still be cured through therapy, psychotherapy, or counseling.
On the other hand, since most children look forward to Halloween, the few that suffer from samhainophobia may be made fun of. It’s very important that any phobia be taken seriously in order to get rid of it – and this requires the understanding and support of others. Samhainophobia may not be a common condition, but it is one that would make it extremely hard to get through October 31st. For this reason, if you know anyone that is suffering from it, your response should not be to criticize them, but to help them get over their fear.