Above: Cemeteries are Opening their Gates on Halloween
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The Best Frights on Halloween
The activities we engage in on Halloween resembles ancient fears. When we put Halloween
costumes on it brings up images of the other world the Celts knew and faced with defiance.
Our children usually claim they are not frightened by people with Halloween costumes on. And
we claim ghosts do not scare us, even though over 50% of us in America believe ghosts exist.
We and our children bravely endure spook trails and haunted houses set up for Halloween. And
we usually select the scariest Halloween costume to wear as we go out into the darkness on
Halloween night. We are actually hoping that we can scare away the forces of evil, but we are
also having fun doing it.
Prowl a Real Cemetery on Halloween
Cemeteries are opening their gates and doors for the adventurous on Halloween. People may
picnic among the gravestone while watching scary movies. Over the past decade, people have
been coming to graveyards for a heightened scare, especially on Halloween night.
Cemeteries such as Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in New York state offer such activities as pumpkin
carving, scary movies, and midnight tours of vast cemetery grounds. Many major cemeteries
are running out of ground and opening the graveyards to more than funerals is helping to pay
We Love To Be Scared!
Physiologically, fear is exhilarating and causes a "rush" of sorts, explains John Sasner,
professor at the University of New Hampshire, Durham. The body responds to fear by getting
into the "fight-or-flight" mode. Adrenaline, blood pressure, and heart rate increase. Muscles
work faster and there is a rise in awareness. On a primal level, these things all happen to put us
in a mode to make decisions quickly.
While the survival instinct forces animals to challenge fear, humans often do so for different
reasons. Many of us physiologically love fear because it is exhilarating and causes a "rush" of
sorts. Psychologists have long studied this phenomena of seeking to be scared.
The body responds to fear by getting into the "fight-or-flight" mode. Adrenaline, blood
pressure, and heart rate increase. Muscles work faster and there is a rise in awareness. On a
primal level, these things all happen to put us in a mode to make decisions quickly.
Another reason we seek to be scared is out of a sense of curiosity and a desire to better manage
our own emotions. Human emotions, relative to the emotions of lower animals, take place in a
very complex psychological environment. Halloween's scary events allow people to play with
their reactions to threat, to learn about those reactions, and to come up with creative responses
Halloween's scary events encourage people to play with their fear and learn about it because,
although the fear is real, they know at some level that the threat is make-believe. As we get
scared going through the haunted house, we know the threat is not real. This provides us with
an opportunity to practice feeling fear, so that at other times--when the threat is really
there--the fear will not overwhelm us.
Another reason people seek out scary situations, he says, is that, after experiencing an intense
emotion like fear, a person will experience the opposite feeling for a brief period of time. For
example, a skydiver who feels a rush of fear during a jump will report an intense feeling of peace
afterward. Similarly, people who see scary movies or walk through a haunted house will be
likely to feel calmer afterward.
Halloween activities is a great way to confront the fears we all experience today. Our own
demons, ghosts, and those of others who have hostile powers must be met head-on. In many
ways, psychologist say that the practices of Halloween can help us allay our real fears, at least