Ask your friends and family about their favourite holidays and chances are Halloween is on the list. Here at McCain, we are pretty much Halloween obsessed, after all, who doesn’t love a chance to get a treat? Luckily, we’re not alone. Bloggers Kim Logan and Deanna Tousignant, psychologist Maggie Mamen, and “haunter” Brad Goodspeed are just as Halloween crazy as we are. So what is it about Halloween that captures everyone’s imagination? In this month’s conversation, we aim to find out.
All Good Blog: People LOVE Halloween and they also love thrill rides, scary movies and ghost tales. So why exactly do we like the stuff that makes the hair stand up on the backs of our necks? What’s so great about being scared?
Kim Logan: The rush is pretty cool. Knowing it is pretend and safe.
Deanna Tousignant: It can be cathartic. With young kids a scare usually leads to giggles…For my young girls (3+6) it’s a way to talk about things that scare them and maybe put those fears to rest by making them a “fun” thing.
Maggie Mamen: There seems to be a bit of a need to test ourselves to see what we can handle…Some people are born risk-takers and sensation-seekers, and others shy away from the stresses of this. We all have a unique threshold in terms of stress tolerance, whether it’s positive stress (e.g., excitement, success, etc.) or negative stress (e.g., worry, fear, failure, etc.). Halloween is a good opportunity to put oneself in a controllable situation, and have choice over the extent to which we engage…. I think some people love being scared because they have learned to master it, and the ensuing adrenalin rush is a true high!
AGB: Do you enjoy being scared?
KL: I hate it!
DT: Myself, nope.
AGB: Interesting. You love Halloween but not being scared?
DT: I adore Halloween because I love playing dress up. For me it’s all about the costumes. It’s the one time of year I can dress up and no one thinks I’m nuts!
Brad Goodspeed: Running a haunted house means I get to see scares first hand; and the thing I notice is that no matter how big the scream, a big laugh immediately follows it. Even if people are very apprehensive about going in, they seem to enjoy laughing at themselves afterwards for getting so worked up about it.
AGB: Studies show that our enjoyment of scary things is conditional upon knowing they aren’t real, and therefore can’t hurt us.
DT: Good point. Something really creepy that gives you the chills but you know could never happen can be entertaining. Something frightening that could be reality is something else altogether.
KM: My husband takes the teens to the Halloween Haunt, fun, scary and controlled.
MM: I think it’s okay to scare our children in a safe context, when we are there to comfort and debrief if necessary. It’s fun for a baby to play peek-a-boo, for example, and to laugh with you.
AGB: Brad Godspeed, every year on Halloween, you create an elaborate haunted house for the kids in your neighborhood. Do you find certain things scare people more than others at your haunt?
BG: There are two kids of scary: spooky stuff and startle stuff. Spooky is different for everyone, but it more just helps to set the mood. Startles work on nearly everybody.
AGB: So we know you guys love Halloween. How come?
KL: As a child it was the candy and being able to stay up late. As an adult and mom I love seeing my children getting excited. Even scared.
MM: I grew up in England – no Halloween back then. So I only experienced it through our children. It was the fact that they had something to look forward to when the nights were getting longer and it was a long way until Christmas.
DT: Trick or treating as a kid. The entire process of choosing and creating a costume, walking door-to-door, getting candy. It’s a perfect day as a kid.
BG: It’s got to be the theatricality. As a kid, I just got so excited about the chance to put on a mask and pretend I was someone else. Remember, for many kids there’s nothing scary at all about Halloween, as evidenced by the fact that they go for superhero and princess costumes. So I don’t think it’s the scary part we really love. It’s the make-believe.
AGB: So in conclusion, being scared can be a rush but when it comes to Halloween, for many it’s the magic of make-believe and not the creepy scary stuff that makes Halloween All Good!
So tell us readers, what makes Halloween All Good for you? Let us know in the comments!