Opinion: Haunted houses aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

Angelina Vitarelli, Writer

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Walking up to a haunted house with your friend, who convinced you to come, both of you purchase tickets. As you hear the screams of others up ahead, you clench your hand around your ticket. Following your friend in, fear settles in your chest. It’s immediately dark. Suddenly, you don’t feel so good about your decision to go.  

As you follow close behind, out of nowhere, an evil clown jumps out from behind a wall and you scream, considering clowns are your worst fear. Many more jump scares ensue as you make your way through the rest of the house. By the time you exit, your throat is exhausted from screaming, and you don’t want to be scared anymore. Although your friend enjoyed themselves, you vow to yourself to never do it again. 

Certain individuals may enjoy a good scare every once in a while, but an astonishing 11 percent of U.S. citizens have a fear of the dark, despite it not being a scary creature.  Many of the scares in a haunted house are the common ghosts, vampires, spiders, clowns and the masked man and chainsaw duo. 

A study from the University of Maastricht found that something called “spider trauma” is what could be causing the fear of spiders in people. Spider trauma is a theory that claims the first time you were scared by a spider may have had a lasting mark. These effects can be seen on a child or adult, and can come from any scary creature in a haunted house. Though haunted houses can be a great Halloween-spirited pastime, they may leave a lasting mark on someone.

Haunted houses can also be considered dangerous because of the fears or phobias someone may already have. If someone becomes scared, they may have a panic attack, thus creating a dangerous and frightening situation. Individuals affected by epilepsy or photosensitive epilepsy (seizures triggered by certain visual patterns or flickering lights), may also experience a seizure during a haunted house with bright flashing lights. 

Not everyone enjoys the unknowns in haunted houses and the lingering fear of the next jump scare; the same can be said about horror movies. Who wants to be scared for the rest of the night, having nightmares and being unable to sleep? Especially if it’s the day before a huge test at school with an important sports practice afterward and homework to do as well. Going to a haunted house just doesn’t add up to being a smart choice in the first place.

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