Halloween immediately brings to mind candy and trick-or-treaters. One also thinks of bats and witches flying through the night sky, while owls are hooting from the trees. For many children, this is an enjoyable holiday. For those with certain phobias, it may be quite a frightening time.
Just about any of the many, many phobias could be associated with Halloween. If there is something you are deathly afraid of, you certainly wouldn't want it around you at any time of year. But there are specific phobias that I link to Halloween more than others – fear of ghosts, fear of dead things, etc. Below I talk about some of these phobias and will discuss the rest in future articles.
These specific phobias would be perfect to use in any Halloween fiction you would write. Since I am talking about phobias that I associate with Halloween, I may have written about some of these before.
Arachnephobia or arachnophobia is the fear of spiders. This common phobia is shared by many people. Just the mention of spiders crawling all over a dead body would definitely add a chilling note to any story. Or the spiders could be crawling out of the dead body. Even worse, what about a spider crawling up inside your ear? From someone who used to have arachnophobia, and who has experienced a spider crawling back inside her ear, that thought still gives me chills.
Automatonophobia is the fear of ventriloquist's dummies, animatronic creatures, wax statures – anything that falsely represents a sentient being. Animatronic is a blend of two words, animate and electronic. This technology uses electronics to animate puppets or other figures for motion pictures. I'm not exactly sure why I associate ventriloquist's dummies with this creepy holiday, but I do. I see a young woman running from an attacker and seeking shelter inside a dark shop in which there is a room full of ventriloquist's dummies. She doesn't notice them at first because they are in a back part of the store. But when the attacker starts to snoop around the front of the store, she flees to the back of the shop. She isn't scared at first, but then these dummies begin to talk to her. And she is trapped.
Blennophobia or myxophobia is the fear of slime, an icky, gooey, oozing substance that is not pleasing at all to touch. Slime is often used in movies to evoke feelings of disgust and horror in viewers. The thought of being covered in slime is quite disgusting. What if someone with blennophobia woke up one morning and found himself covered in egg whites? Does the person who did this have a sick sense of humor? Or does this person have a purpose that is much more deadly?
Cacophobia is the fear of ugliness. Why is ugliness associated with Halloween? People used to put on masks to frighten away evil spirits, ghosts, and witches. Why an evil spirit, ghost, or witch would be frightened by an ugly face is beyond me. But you could have an evil spirit, ghost, or witch as a character that is afflicted with cacophobia. This character would only be attracted to people or things that were beautiful, and as a result, would literally scare the hell out of whoever it was attracted to.
Chiroptophobia is the fear of bats, the only mammal that can fly. There are many myths about these mammals who are commonly associated with vampires. For example, these creatures of the night are said to fly into a people's hair and become tangled up in it. They can fly through total darkness and capture insects, so how likely is it that one would get caught in a person's hair? Anyway, any of the myths there are about bats could be used in a Halloween story to send shivers up someone's spine.