Halloween Question: Tricks as Treats – Why do we love to fear?


There is no “Vessel Time Live” on my author’s Facebook this week, so I’m sharing a thought for the day: Why do we love to be scared? Whether a scary movie, a haunted house, or a trip to the dentist with all those sharp tools, there is something appealing about the dark side of human existence. The psychology on this would take a million blogs, but one Psychologist, Dr. Christopher Dwyer, Ph.D., lists 5 top reasons we enjoy being afraid:

  • Fear induces the fight-or-flight syndrome, no matter what. But if we are in a safe setting (“it’s just a movie,” “the haunted house isn’t real,”), we can enjoy the rush because we know it won’t really hurt us.
  • This same biochemical rush from being afraid can ultimately result in a pleasure-filled sense of euphoria that leaves us in a rather “high” state of relief and calm.
  • We love seeking thrills and pushing the envelope – whether watching that terrifying Stephen King movie or riding the roller coaster with vertical drops and endless loops. The rush of self-satisfaction from achieving the goal outweighs the fear of tackling it.
  • Being afraid brings us closer. The old adage about taking your date to a horror movie so he/she will cuddle close in the scary parts is steeped in truth. For both parties, too! That fight-or-flight rush is evidently better when shared.
  • We are curious. Fear of the unknown is one of our most natural and instinctive, including of dark elements like ghosts, monsters and evil villains. But we also like our world to make sense. So part of our curiosity is based on a desire for the fight-or-flight biochemical rush, and part on our need to bring the unknown under control.

Speaking of bringing scary things more under our control, here are some things to keep in mind if you go out to confront COVID on Halloween night:


  1. Wear masks! Cover your nose AND mouth.
  2. Wear them to give out candy or as a scary or colorful touch to any and every costume.
  3. Trick-or-treat with members of your household.
  4. Remain 6′ apart from everyone else.
  5. Do not touch candy or go to the door if you are sick or have a temperature.
  6. Fill small Halloween bags with candy and put them on a clean, disinfected table outside. Allow for “self-serve” pickup by your neighborhood ghosts and goblins.
  7. Wear a mask and social distance if you stay outside to watch the friendly ghouls go by.
  8. Use Hand Sanitizer between homes or after each handout. Wash your hands often and thoroughly, especially once you’re done.
  9. Wipe the candy pieces/wrappers, or let them sit a couple of days, and put them into a new, cleaned container.
  10. The non-COVID norms: Use a flashlight, wear visible costumes/clothing, watch for cars, and inspect all candy for tampering.



The Vessels novel – Halloween excerpt: “Heat from the bonfire warmed him through Sanjay’s skin and the boy’s neurons fired like lasers. Though guarded, the Spirit’s old human passions, fears and fury were accessible again … The temptation to use them would grow stronger the longer he stayed. The Spirit prayed Sanjay was, indeed, as seasoned a Vessel as he’d heard, to help him complete this journey before the urge to kill overcame him once more.”   Order The Vessels Online

“Despite this novel’s themes of redemption, forgiveness, love and compassion, the narrative gifts readers a healthy dose of action and suspense as well. Like any good sci-fi/fantasy, there is a singular evil that the protagonists face, yet in chasing that evil, the reader must confront the sprawling grey area in which most of the characters reside — they’re complex, flawed and utterly human … most of them, anyway.”  —Chelsea Ciccone, Booktrib   Read Full Review


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