Samhainophobia can be defined as the fear of Halloween. People that suffer from samhainophobia tend to have a hard time coping during the month of October, especially as it gets closer to Halloween.
The word ‘samhainophobia’ originates from the word ‘Samhuin,’ which translates to ‘summer’s end.’ The Celts celebrated Samhain, which marked the separation between the lighter half of the year (summer) and the darker half of the year (winter). During Samhain, the separation between “this world” and the “other world” was at its thinnest, and spirits from the other world were believed to be able to enter this world. The Celts would wear costumes to mimic evil spirits and avoid harm while welcoming the spirits of their ancestors.
Samhainophobia usually affects young children, who find it hard to cope with their fear during the month of October. The fear is usually triggered by a traumatizing experience during Halloween, such as being “tricked” instead of being given a “treat.” Samhainophobia can be intensified by watching graphic movies or reading detailed books about Halloween or the supernatural. Samhainophobia is often made up of other fears that can be found during Halloween, such as arachnophobia (the fear of spiders), achluophobia (the fear of the dark), and/or phasmophobia (the fear of ghosts, which was discussed in the previous article).
Common symptoms of phasmophobia include:
- Rapid Heart Rate/Breathing
- Sweating and/or nausea
- Intense Fear
- Refusal to participate in Halloween-related activities
- Refusal to go outside when it is dark
Most people do not attempt to receive professional help in relieving their fear of Halloween because the fear may not manifest itself until October. It takes time, but gradual exposure can help to alleviate the effects of Samhainophobia. Parents should try to find out what specifically about Halloween scares their child, and should not force their child to go trick-or-treating. Parents should also not take their child to stores that may be selling graphic or scary costumes, but it is advised to give the child gradual exposure by allowing them to walk down a “Halloween aisle” until they lose their fear.