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Thursday, 31 Oct 2019

The Psychology of Why Adults Enjoy Halloween

By Dr Becky Spelman

The Psychology Behind Halloween 

Halloween is a holiday characterised by ghosts, monsters and the consumption of excessive amounts of sweets. It’s also something that is mostly marketed at children, with many confectionary brands and toy retailers offering spookily themed Halloween products.

But beyond the edible snakes and cheap thrills, there are also many adults that revel in the opportunity to celebrate Halloween and take part in some gruesome activities.

Whether it be watching horror films, visiting a haunted house or dressing up as our favourite scary characters for a party, what it is about Halloween that has such an enduring appeal that transcends age restrictions? In short, why do adults love Halloween?

You get to be someone else for a day

Think about it, there aren’t many days in the year where you get the opportunity to shed your corporate skin, take off that pinstripe suit and dress up as a crazed mass murderer. The truth is, we all like a bit of escapism from time to time, and Halloween allows us to do this perfectly. For one night a year, we can forget about our real identity and become someone else and, no matter what age you are, that’s exciting.

We all like to be scared

You know that feeling you get when you’re watching a horror film and the killer is creeping in the shadows, ready to slaughter their next victim? Your heart is racing, your adrenaline is pumping and you’ve moved right to the edge of your seat. Well, that feeling is addictive. It also gives us a glimpse into a world that is far removed from our everyday lives. Horror films are often purposely far-fetched and extreme, taking the viewers on a journey into dark and dangerous worlds beyond their imaginations. We enjoy seeing stuff that is dark and twisted because that kind of stuff doesn’t feature in our lives on a day-to-day basis. Psychologists have also suggested that people enjoy pushing themselves to their limits with scary films and seeing how much they can really tolerate when it comes to fear. Enduring all of that stress and anxiety gives us a sense of relief once it’s over, and that feels really good.

It transports us back to our childhood

Much like Christmas, Halloween is a holiday that will bring back fond memories of easier days, when trick or treating with our friends and parents was the call of order for this time of year. We associate these types of occasions with being young and carefree, and that feeling doesn’t fade once the celebration rolls round again.

Who can I speak to about psychology related issues?

For more information on any psychological issues you can speak to one of our Therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free chat.

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