Fright night brings hidden fears

Alexandria Staton and Alex Myrick

Between Fright Fest and the latest horror movies, October can awaken dormant fears.

Fear and excitement often go together when it comes to teenagers. However, around the time of Halloween, the two emotions go hand in hand.

This is what often makes the holiday enjoyable for them.

Many students who said they enjoy scary movies and haunted houses said they continue to go because the events are entertaining. Other students said they enjoy the adrenaline rush.

“It’s a way to get a thrill without the danger,” sophomore Lindsey Simpson said.

School psychiatrist Kofi Shuck explains that legitimate fears are most often tied to memories. The fears that people have that are not a direct threat to us, the “irrational” ones, are the ones people want to indulge in.

“It only comes once a year, so it leads to a buildup of excitement and desire for an adrenaline rush,” Shuck said. “But around this time we tend to only want to entertain fears we have that aren’t tied back to memories.”

Halloween is more of a time to entertain the more illogical fears.

“If you truly feared it, you wouldn’t want to experience it, unless you were trying to overcome it,” Shuck said.

Many fears around this time stem from scary movies, as well as stories we’ve heard.

“I’m afraid of serial killers like Freddy and Jason because of all the scary movies made about them,” junior Jasmine Charlley said. “Also because of when you hear about serial killers in real life on the news.”

Halloween is the easiest as well as the safest way to indulge in these fears. Haunted houses are a known way to experience fears in a controlled environment, but that still  doesn’t eliminate the fear that comes with it.

“One time I was in a haunted house with my cousin and a mummy popped out at us, and my cousin got so scared that she threw up on the mummy,” junior Jetoun Brown said.

Shuck explained the logic behind why people participate in the things that spook them.

“People know that nobody gets killed at a haunted house or watching a scary movie,” Shuck said.

Although people know this information, they are continuously scared at haunted houses. The reason some people continue to go is for the surge of adrenaline.

“It boils down to a difference in brain activity,” AP psychology teacher Lauren Chasey said. “Some people actively seek out activation of the brain circuits that scare them, which often lead to the release of adrenaline, our fight or flight hormone, which some people feel is a rush.”

Chasey explained that the rush is what attracts people. It’s what makes people go out and pay money for a haunted house, walk in the dark for candy, and watch movies like Insidious or Annabelle.

Junior Trinity Fleming says that she and her friends were approached by a “huge” man one night while trick-or-treating.

However, she said she still loves Halloween, frights and all.

Even though many students have had frightening experiences, students like sophomore Camille Campbell love them and continue to go.
“I love haunted houses. It’s funny to be scared sometimes,” Campbell said.