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A terror-ific time

Haunted houses provide exhilarating environments and fun nights for friends

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A terror-ific time

Myah Hrinko, Photo Editor, Social Media Director

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As we decorate our houses with pumpkins and witches, dress up in costumes and go out for some candy, many people are ready for the spooky season. For some, October is a time for carving pumpkins and watching old horror movies. For others, it’s a time for goblins, spiders, creatures and being scared in the places that hold all of that; haunted houses.

Some may ask, what the point of a haunted house is. Or why does anyone like to be scared? Haunted houses are obviously meant to scare you but there are some factual reasons on why people like to be scared.

“Our bodies are prepared for danger,” Washington Post journalist Rachel Feltman says. Feltman also continues to say that, “fear is not a positive, but it’s what we call a ‘high arousal’ response. And those are positive.”

Now, there is a difference between getting scared and being thrilled. For example, research shows that there is a difference between your initial reaction when getting scared and the reaction you have seconds after, in other words, fight or flight. Those reactions are related to being more thrill-seeking or being more sensitive and stressed out. But even though stress can be brought upon, it is easy for the body to sense when they are in a dangerous environment.

“When we’re in a safe place, we can interpret that threat response as we do any high arousal response like joy or happiness,” Margee Kerr says, a sociologist and author who specializes in fear.
Kerr goes on to say that, “the response is triggered by anything causing you to jump or be startled. But when we’re in a safe place and we know it, it takes less than a second for us to remember we’re not actually in danger. Then we switch over to enjoying it”. The overall point of a haunt is not just to scare, but to also make memories and have fun.

“We store intense emotional experiences with more detail and importance than non-emotional experiences, it’s our bodies way of making sure we remember what makes us feel good and what makes us feel bad,” Kerr says.
When going through a haunted house, being scared could cause your instant reaction to jump then laugh, or punch and cry. While going through haunted houses, the intention is to make you laugh and have fun while doing something that only comes around a few weeks out of the year.

In saying that, not everyone likes being scared, and that’s okay. For some, the thrill of the haunt may be what they look forward to every spooky season but, for others, forcing someone into a scary situation causes stress and an unsettling feeling. If you don’t feel you’re in control, you’re likely to just feel scared in a bad way the whole time causing what scarers like to call ‘a horrifying time’.

So if the idea of a haunted house or being scared makes you feel sick or uneasy, just wait outside with a pumpkin spice latte, a warm sweater and some Halloween candy to enjoy the spooky, fall season.

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A terror-ific time