Facing Fears

I Like Halloween…Now

I groped my way along the pitch black corridor on my hands and knees. My only hope of finding a way out was forward. As I moved my hand along the floor, my heart beat faster and faster until I thought it might jump from my chest to escape the dread of what would come next. What did come next was even worse than I feared. When I broke free from the darkness, a machine sound engulfed me. A chainsaw attached to a masked psycho was barreling down on me. I had no choice but to run. My friends laughed as I ran screaming into the night.

This was my first and last attempt at going through an adult haunted house on Halloween.

When I was young, my mother would spend days working on the school haunted house. I would never even think about putting a toe across the threshold. Mom’s haunted houses were always great, or so I hear. When I was about eight or so, I finally managed to go through part of her creation with all the lights on.

In just a couple days, kids will dress up and head out in search of the perfect treat. Some might throw in a few tricks along the way, a car might get egged or a house toilet papered. For others it may be more sinister, but for the most part, Halloween is supposed to be fun.

Not if you are the kid version of me.

It wasn’t until I was around 10 or so that I ventured out on Halloween, and even then I made it to all of one house. Yep, just one. That was enough Halloween fun for me.

Up until then, I refused to answer the door, or even be in the same area as the door when it was opened on Halloween night. All these cute little kids younger than me were out enjoying a fun fall evening while I was hiding in my room. For further reference I was also the kid who hid under the dining room table when the Hulk turned green.

As an adult I finally made it to a couple of Halloween parties. Once I went to the big haunted houses in the city, which, as you read, did not end well.

Somewhere along the way and after the traumatic haunted house event, I started to like Halloween. Interestingly, some people even think it is my favorite time of year.

To be clear, Fall is my favorite time of year. Fall. Not Halloween.

But, I do like dressing up. I even helped out at a friend’s haunted garage a few years. And scared people. Such a change from cowering under the dining room table.

It wasn’t an easy transition. I completely boycotted Halloween most years. Then I met someone that absolutely loved it. She invited me to come to her haunted garage. The first year I made some excuse to not go.

The next year she asked again and I decided to go. I made it to the end of the street. I could almost see the house. By this point she is probably thinking I am such a loser, but she continued being my friend.

She asked again the third year. This time I made it all the way to the door. I could see how much fun she and her family had with all the kids coming to visit the haunted garage. I wasn’t dressed up, but I still hung around a while.

The fourth year and several years after, I participated. I dressed up and walked around or handed out candy. I loved it. Nobody was surprised more than me. I won’t be heading down to the big haunted houses anytime soon, or ever, but I am now on friendly terms with Halloween.

Perhaps learning to like something I was previously afraid of helped me in other ways. Since facing my fear of Halloween, I turned my attention to other areas of my life. Instead of going down the traditional path of life, I veered off. I started making my own path, however bumpy it is.

Sometimes it only takes one triumph, one success, to make you want to tackle new challenges. It doesn’t mean everything will be great immediately, but every step encourages another.

What will be your first step?

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