Samhainophobia Fear of Halloween

Phobias are abundant, and many of us have a few or at least one. Some of us lucky ones have none. Although we know that phobias are fears that are based on irrational grounds, it is something we cannot always control. On the contrary, it often seems to control us. That being said, a phobia is something we can certainly learn to manage and even get over. Fear of heights and spiders are the common ones, but some people also suffer samhainophobia, fear of Halloween.

Here is a list of the most common phobias:Samhainophobia Fear of Halloween

  • Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces)
  • Acrophobia (fear of heights)
  • Claustrophobia (fear of small spaces)
  • Entomophobia (fear of insects)
  • Arachnophobia (fear of spiders)
  • Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes)
  • And more …

Read here my previous article: How Helping Others Helps You – Burnout Stories of Help

What is Samhainophobia?

Wikipedia (on defines samhainophobia as follows: “the morbid fear of Halloween. The origin of the term traces back to the Celtic word Samhuin, meaning All Hallows Eve to Christians, though Samhuin predates the introduction of Christianity to the region it originated in, Ireland, by at least 4000 years.”


Although Halloween is a time of fun, for some it causes anxiety, fear, and even panic attacks. Halloween means scary costumes; vampires, ghosts, zombies, and other ghoulish looking monsters. If you are suffering from samhainophobia, running into a group of people dressed up as (and playing the part of) monsters can be a terrifying moment.

Staying at home would be the best option, but the thing is, these monsters come to ring your doorbell and ask for treats. So, there is no escaping it, or there hardly seems to be a way to avoid it.

I do not suffer from this condition, but I can just imagine that during Halloween it must be a very trying time for anyone who has samhainophobia.


Symptoms of Samhainophobia

As per psychcentral, the symptoms could be the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Terror, extreme fear, panic
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Shaking
  • Chest pain
  • Numbing, or a tingling sensation
  • Inability to speak coherently

Possible Causes of Samhainophobia

As with many fears, they are usually based on events in our childhood. I have my fears as well, and while I am aware that there is no reason to be so afraid, I used to have a hard time getting over it. Now, these phobias do not control me anymore.

mother and child

Perhaps a friend or relative jumped at you in a scary costume when you were little. To them it was only play, but to you it may have been traumatic. Little children sometimes can not tell the difference between what is real and what’s not. Maybe someone tried to frighten you with a monster’s mask when you were not old enough to handle it. Perhaps you were playing a spooky game as a child or listened to scary stories that left some fear in you. It could be anything.

It is likely that you do not even remember the event that sparked your phobia. In my case, I had a phobia that was caused by a childhood event that I did not remember at all.

An Anecdote About my Fears

If you are here just to read about samhainophobia, then you can skip this section and move to the What to do About Samhainophobia part below. It’s a little long as well, since I am discussing three fears. The only reason I am adding this is to show you that you can get over your phobias.


spiderwebThere were three fears that I had to deal with, two of them phobias, one of them a mild fear. The mild fear was related to spiders. Although I never had arachnophobia, I did not want those critters near me. If I found one in a bathtub I used to feel disgust – this was a really long time ago.

Then, I moved to the semi-desert in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Suddenly I was confronted with spiders that were the size of 1/4 or even half my hand … Gulp … I remember the first place I rented. In the bathroom I would usually find at least ten or more spiders that had thick bodies of perhaps 2 – 3 centimeters and quite long legs …

It took me many months before I decided to get a hold of myself and take the bull by the horns. I told myself to get over it. I was living in the desert now, and I had to accept that spiders were a part of life, small or big, it didn’t matter, they were there. Much of my life was outside, so I had to learn to live with spiders.

One day I rode an ATV in the desert and a tarantula crossed my path. I stopped my ATV to avoid running over it, and I watched it. The tarantula stopped and it felt as if it looked at me (but I could be mistaken, of course πŸ˜‰ ). Anyway, at that moment, I observed the spider and I realized how beautiful the tarantula was. I know that some of my readers will think “what? She found a spider beautiful?”


Tarantulas are quite interesting creatures, and I do not find them scary looking. The moment I realized that, I knew that I could handle my fear of spiders. The tarantula went on its way and as soon as it had traversed the path, I rode off.

Now, I pick up (harmless) spiders by their legs and I carry them outside if I find them in my room or any other place where it may not be convenient. I know! What a change, isn’t it?! I find daddy long legs cute. Can you believe it? I observe spiders in their webs and admire their beautiful work. It’s an amazing change, and I am happy about it. It makes all the difference.

Fear of Electrical Escalators

For years I have had this fear that whenever I reached the end of the electrical escalator that my feet were going to be sucked in, and I always made a large jump to avoid getting too close to it.

vacuum-cleanerI was always aware how ridiculous this was, but I could not help myself. I am also terrified of vacuum cleaners when they get too close to my feet. Although I know very well that they cannot suck up my feet, adrenaline shoots through my body and I make a beehive around the vacuum cleaner (especially those humongous ones at grocery stores and airports …)

Strangely enough, I had no idea where this fear came from.

One day I mentioned it to my father, and he grew very quiet. Then, he turned to me and said that he used to tease me with the vacuum cleaner when I was a little girl, approaching me with it and telling me to run, lest it would suck my feet. For him it was only a game, and he meant no harm, but he understood at that moment what it had done to me, and he felt bad about it …

I am better now. I can reach the end of an electrical escalator without making that huge jump like I used to. I now step off it like most people do. There is sometimes still a tingling in me when I get very close, especially when I see those giant vacuum cleaners in the grocery stores or shopping malls, I still don’t get near them. I may not have gotten over this phobia 100%, but at least I do not feel that fear anymore, and I know the cause of it now.

Fear of Heights

I have not worked on that fear. It is a strange one with me. I used to climb mountains as a teenager, and I loved it. I was never afraid while crossing feeble wooden bridges that hung over deep ravines, and hanging on to an outcropping from a rocky formation.

However, bridges, tall buildings, and any other man made high structures scared me to death. My belly tingled and my knees trembled every time I had to cross a bridge or when I stood on top of a building.


My fear never stopped me from going to the top of the World Trade Center (when it was still there), the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, and other famous man made structures. However, I refused to get close to the edge and look down. Just the thought terrified me …

So, natural heights do not scare me at all, only man made structures. Weird, isn’t it? Perhaps I have that fear, because man made buildings can crumble? Who knows?

What to do About Samhainophobia

Can you rid yourself of phobias, get over them? Yes, it is possible. You can learn to handle them and even live without those crippling fears.

Here are a few suggestions.

Self education: learn the history of Halloween. It is an age-old tradition that is over 4000 years old. Its history is very interesting, and more knowledge about it may help you see it from a different perspective and take your distance from it.

selfhelp books

Analyze your fears: which is what I did when I learned to handle – and even like – spiders. It helps you to see your phobia as an observer and understand what is really in charge of you. When you understand how little the thing is that has been controlling you, you may be able to control it yourself. Consequently, you may learn to even lose your fear and perhaps even start enjoying Halloween. Remember, I find some spiders beautiful now πŸ˜‰

Therapy: a therapist can help you identify the causes of your fears and work with you to deal with them. This can be a great help; therapists are professionals that are trained to help you. I know that for some people therapy has a negative connotation to it, somehow meaning that you are “crazy”, but nothing would be further from the truth. If all other methods fail, then seeking therapy is a step in the right direction. You are just seeing a doctor, there’s nothing wrong with that.

focus on the good

Hypnotherapy: a qualified hypnotherapist can bring you in a state of trance (also known as heightened relaxation). During that stage you may be exposed to images you fear until you gradually learn how to cope with them.

Can You Get Over Samhainophobia?

Yes, you can, but the first step is to want to get cured from this phobia. You also have to be prepared to make an effort. If you are receiving help from a therapist or a hypnotherapist, you are also required to put in work. Like I did with spiders, you may get over your fear and you may even learn to like or perhaps enjoy Halloween.

Don’t let fear paralyze you. Take fear by the horns and show it where to go.

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Thank you for reading!

23 thoughts on “Samhainophobia Fear of Halloween”

  1. Thank you for pointing out samphainophobia. Very few people really want to talk about the concept of fear. But truth be told, fear is all around us. I appreciated how you pointed out that you can overcome your fear. Even if they are as a result of childhood experience but the truth is you can educate your mind and overcome your fear 

    • Very true, you can educate yourself and in doing so overcome your fear. It is not easy. Making the decision to overcome your fear is a big step, but it is good to know that it is possible. I believe that where there’s a will there’s a way.

      Thank you for your comment!

  2. This really got me smiling for a while and I must say it is a very important thing that you shared this article, I never really know that there’s something like samhainophobia  which is the fear of Halloween, well it is interesting to read through it and I Love how you’ve been able to explain it.

    • I think that samhainophobia is perhaps one of the lesser known phobias, but since Halloween is coming up, I thought it was important to share this. 

      Thank you for your comment πŸ™‚

  3. Hi,

    From my research, Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween or the fear of the festival of the dead. The term Samhainophobia originates from ‘Samhuin’ meaning summer’s end. The Samhain festival was celebrated by the Celts for marking the transition between summer and winter. The word Samhuin has Irish-Scottish-Gaelic roots generally meaning ‘All Hallows Eve.

    Thank you.


  4. What? I have never heard of this term before lol I heard of pan-phobia from the peanuts but I am happy that I learned a new word. Will keep samhainophobia in mind. I can definitely relate with with anyone about fear. I was also so afraid of a little Thai lizard (I am from Thailand and you cannot find it here). I had a trauma when one fell into my t-shirt and I could just feel the sensation about it till now. I was so freaking out that time that I did not know that I stepped on it and killed it and that made me feel even worse (totally different experience from you). We all have that one thing that we are afraid of. Now I live in NYC and there is no lizard so I am good with that. But still every year when I visit home I am still afraid. I am going to check that work book out. Thanks for sharing this interesting topic. Happy Halloween, let’s hope it will be the same like every year. 

    • Hi Nuttanee,

      It is surprising how many phobias exist. I am sorry for your experience with the lizard, when these things happen in childhood they tend to have a lasting effect on us, but once we know the causes, and understand how we can heal from it. we can find a way to heal.

      Happy Halloween to you too! Let’s hope it will be good, now during these times.

  5. Christine,

    I never knew there was a fear of Halloween until now. I know people are often scared of clowns or scary makeup – my kids are terrified of clowns – but not the holiday itself. I bet my kids are scared of clowns because my husband and I dressed up like scary clowns quite a few times when they were young. I have to admit, Halloween is my favorite holiday and I often go all out when it comes to decorating and my costumes. I usually make my costumes from scratch, like when I dressed up as Pennywise.
    I can’t really decorate outside my house like I did a few years back, I did make the kids pee their pants, so I stopped with the super scary stuff hidden in fog machines. Yes, they tend to lunge out, so the kids got super scared. I still have all my animatronics, I just haven’t put them outside my house in a years. I hate scaring the kids, but loved it with the adults. They thought it was a riot.

    As for fears for myself, I find I’m afraid of height. I can look down, or play games that have my shooting into air, ride roller coasters, but my feet tingle and sweat and I feel super nervous. I don’t know where the fear came about, but I can say I will not climb a ladder to the roof of my house like my hubby tried to get me to do. He claimed it would cure my fear. Yeah, no, I was good.

    He claimed I have a fear of spiders too, but not really. I don’t really LIKE them, I won’t go grab one just to grab it, but I sure can kill it if I need to. I did catch one in a plastic cup a couple weeks ago that found himself in my house. He was living on our deck for a while and I kept ruining his web since it was attached to my table on the deck. I felt bad that the guy had to rebuild it like 5 times, and I guess he got tired of it and tried to move in. But, he was as big as my thumb, so he needed to move out. I put him in a nice tree that I have planted on the deck instead. Told him he can’t live with me I’m afraid.

    My girls were terrified of him, so I had to do the dirty work of catching him. But, I’m assuming he’s safe now since I haven’t seen him since.

    Great information!! Love this one!


    • Hi Katrina,

      I love the story about the spider and that you gave him a new place to build his silken home πŸ˜‰
      I think many of us have our fears. Like you, I do not know where my fear of heights comes from. I can climb ladders, though, so I think that my fear is not as bad, but I tremble on high buildings and bridges …
      I’m sure it would be worth it to see your Halloween decorations, but I understand about the kids. It can be really scary …
      Thank you for your valuable input to this article. I appreciate it!

  6. Christine,

    Very interesting article. I don’t have much to add about Samhainophobia itself that others haven’t already said in the comments here. But for those of us dealing with PTSD (or other anxiety disorders), there can be issues with Halloween even if we don’t actually have Samhainophobia.

    For me, this time of year is second only to the 4th of July as a non “PTSD Anniversary” trigger. As the holiday approaches, people seem to take joy in trying to scare you, and if you react in any way, they seem to enjoy it even more. The problem is that they often don’t understand that for those of us with PTSD, this can start a serious spiral.

    Thanks for posting this,

    • Hi Sean,

      This is a new perspective, and I am so relieved that you are bringing this up. We so often do things without thinking of the repercussions for others, and some even delight in the scared reactions of other people. Although I do not suffer from PTSD, I can relate with an experience where I was once scared to death and the ones who scared me thought it was funny while I was shaking with fear and did not see the joke of it.
      I am now beginning to realize how important it is to share this post. Thank you for your comment! I really appreciate your thoughts!

  7. Hi, Christine,

    I didn’t know samhainophobia was a thing, but it doesn’t surprise me. As humans, we are all different and unique, each one of us with different fears and battles to overcome.

    Personally, I’m scared to death of heights. I don’t know if my case could be classified as a phobia, but I don’t like being up in the air and feeling I could fall down anytime. I guess that’s why I’ve never liked rides, especially rollercoasters and the like.

    Another thing I’ve always struggled with is the passing of time. I didn’t know this had a name, but it turns out it does: chronophobia. It’s an irrational fear of the passing of time. I literally hate the ticking of clocks. I can’t stand them. Important events cause me anxiety. Even Sundays were unbearable, especially the evening. I felt something up my neck. It really hurt, but I couldn’t do anything about it. I guess I will eventually have to see a specialist.

    Back to samhainophobia, I think it’s important those who suffer from it seek medical advice if nothing they do helps. Sometimes we think health has only to do with our bodies, but mental health should be addressed as well.

    Thanks for sharing!

    P.S. How come you like spiders! lol Yeah, I agree they’re beautiful, but I prefer to keep my distance.

    • Hi Enrique,

      I agree, if nothing one does helps, then it is important to seek medical help. Mental health is extremely important and unfortunately it is often neglected …
      I have not heard of chronophobia. There are so many phobias, the list is long …
      Regarding your question about spiders, it took me a while to like them. There are two deadly kinds of spiders here, the violin and the brown recluse spider, and those ones are very very dangerous … I can’t very well grab them by their little legs, in that case it is purely self defence kicking in. One of my dogs once was bitten by a brown recluse, and it was ugly … poor baby, she had a nasty welt on her head and she needed lots of medicine to heal from it …
      The harmless spiders, though, are ok. I learned to like them by living in the desert and being exposed to them all the time, lol. I basically forced myself to learn to deal with them. I did not plan on liking them, but I did. Daddy long legs are extremely useful, they eat flies. and then there are some white spiders here in the Baja, they do not spin webs, but they jump on flies and eat them. it’s fascinating. So, yes, now, I like several of their kind πŸ™‚

  8. Well! If you are the type that actually grew up watching g horror movies, I would not be surprised of someone develops something like this fear of Halloween.there have been numerous phobias these days but I never thought this would be it. Surely a very good one to explore here. Thanks for sharing Here with us all. 

  9. It seems here in Spain are groups of people that hunt black cats in October because they don’t want them to roam around when it’s Halloween. I am not sure what they do with them, but given the way some people treat animals over here it worries me. A friend told me this last month and it was the first time I heard something negative in relationship with Halloween.
    I am afraid of heights. When it’s steep, no matter whether it’s manmade or natural I get a hollow feeling in my belly. Sometimes to the point I even want to jump! Which is crazy because then would exactly happen what I am afraid of.
    Glass floors! Awful! Last week I was in a museum with a glass floor. I was determined enough to see the rest of the museum, so I walked over it (!), but carefully tried to put my feet on the metal ribs of the construction. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Hannie,

      During Halloween, if you are a black cat owner, it is extremely important to keep your cat inside, because there are indeed some crazy people who hunt black cats for dark ceremonies during Halloween, usually ending in the cat’s death … When I lived in town I always kept my cats inside during Halloween, black or not. I just wanted them to be safe. Now, I live in the middle of nowhere, so Halloween doesn’t even get here.
      I can relate to glass floors, especially if they are on a higher level, it is scary. I would be nervous to walk over them too …

  10. My phobia has been the snakes! This phobia developed from childhood when I accidently stepped onto a massive snake who was going past me quietly without my knowledge! I fainted and developed a high fever for the whole week!

    I did not know if there was a name for it.

    I will look into buying this book.


    • That must have been a scary experience …
      There are rattlesnakes in my area and they come out in the summer. They frighten me because of their venom … I don’t mind gopher snakes or other harmless snakes, I actually like them; but the poisonous ones seriously scare me.

  11. Hi Christine,

    I fear ghosts and darkness since I was a kid. I was told many scary stories in childhood so that I started to scare that ghosts come when the night arrives. I am currently in my 30s, but I still get scared of these two things.
    My way to conquer this is to breathe a few times deeply to calm down then I have a stronger mind to see clearly everything around me. This works for me so well, so I would love to suggest people trying it too.


    • Hi Matt,

      It is incredible how childhood events affect us for much of our lives, isn’t it? The advice to think before speaking or acting is certainly given for a very good reason πŸ˜‰ if only everyone would follow it, it would save us some trouble …
      Thank you for sharing your tips on how to deal with those fears. Taking deep breaths can do wonders sometimes.

  12. Great article Christine,

    I never knew the fear of Halloween is real! It’s a form of celebration, one could easily be as scared of Christmas or of National but of course, we never know the deep trauma these people go through in relation to those celebrations. Still, overcoming is possible as long as we keep our spirits up and get used it πŸ™‚

  13. Halloween sometimes can cause fears to lots of children. But I don’t think this is a problem for some teens and adult as they tend to outgrow its fears. Kids are usually the victim at the most part. But well, I have my fears. Fears of snake(ophidiophobia). I can’t stand it looking at snakes or know that a snake is in my house. Everyone have their ways. But what matters is how we deal with it. Well, you’ve give some vital points to people that have this Samhainophobia. When they self-educate themselves and knowing its history, they will be able to free or reduce that fear in the subconscious mind.

    • Hi Kelvin,

      We all have our fears, I have mine too. When we educate ourselves we can learn how to handle them and even overcome them. There are snakes in my area, they come out in the summer. I like gopher snakes, since they are harmless and they keep to themselves, but rattlesnakes make me nervous and I don’t want them anywhere near me or my pets. I don’t have a fear of them, though, but I can imagine that ophidiophobia is very common.


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