Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
11:00 AM 31st October 2023

More Brits Fear British Politics Than Ghosts This Halloween

It's officially spooky season and party decoration company Ginger Ray have conducted a survey to discover what Britain's biggest fears are in 2023.

Not only can Ginger Ray reveal the UK’s most terrifying Halloween horrors, but also their real tangible terrors to unveil the collective psyche in all its spine-chilling glory.

In this day and age, many of our biggest fears are less supernatural and very real. Many of these were more feared than some of the most common phobias.

Top 5 fears in the UK:
Cost of living crisis - 35%
Getting older - 27%
Spiders 24%
Environmental crisis - 20%
British politics - 13%

The UK’s most tangible terror was the cost of living crisis, with over one-third (35%) of Brits fearing inflation and affordability. 27% are terrified of the inevitable- getting older and one in five (20%) fear the environmental crisis.

Other than the tangible terrors, spiders are the #1 fear across all areas of the UK with a quarter of Brits (24%) saying they are scared of the creepy crawlies. The UK spewed the truth to reveal vomit as the second biggest fear, with 1 in 10 people (10%) horrified by hurl. The third biggest fear amongst Brits was ghosts, with 9% of people admitting to feeling dread towards the prospect of being haunted.

Whilst arachnophobia (fear of spiders) was the biggest non-tangible fear across all regions of the UK, there was significant regional variation when it came to 2nd biggest spine chillers.

Regionally, the biggest scaredy cats in the UK are in Northern Ireland, as only 9% claimed to not be scared of anything. The bravest Brits that will take the most spooking this Halloween live in the East of England- almost a quarter (22%) had no fears. On a city level, Nottingham was home to the hardest-to-spook Brits followed closely by Glasgow and Norwich, with 22%, 21% and 20% respectively allegedly having no phobias. On the flipside those with the largest nervous disposition for Halloween horrors and the least likely to have no fears were Belfast (9%), Liverpool (11.4%) and Sheffield (11.5%).

Ginger Ray has teamed up with confidence coach, Lucy Cox, to share tips for overcoming your fears:

Identify what makes you feel better

With any form of negative emotion, we need to know how to make ourselves feel better again after a wobble.

We all feel these emotions sometimes and they are perfectly normal, but experimenting with what calms you down the best will be a great investment of your time. That might be deep breathing, squeezing a sensory toy, going for a walk, having a favourite scent; we are all different so spend some time working out what works for you.

Then, when you are faced with your fear, you can use these tools to help regulate your emotions in the moment.

Learn more about it

One of the best tips when it comes to removing the fear of something is to learn some interesting facts about it and get to know it better. This can help to take some of the mystery and unpredictability from it as fear often lies in the unknown.

Our brains are hard-wired to keep us safe, so we tend to fill in the gaps in our knowledge with a worst-case-scenario to make sure we are prepared for the worst.

Seeing it differently

Consider the different ways you could view the thing you are fearful of. If is it a creature (spider, mouse, snake etc) can you see it as a living thing, with a personality, family and feelings? Can you give it a funny voice? Could you make up a story as to what it is doing? Can you give it a silly name?

If it is an inanimate object, can you break it down into parts to see it for what it really is? E.g. plastic, string and dye. Your mind might be automatically seeing it as something scary when actually it’s just a blob with some googly eyes on it!

Face it in small steps

Take baby steps to build up tolerance to it. Start by being in the same room as it. Can you stand nearer to it? A bit closer? Now can you touch it? Etc. Celebrate each step with some sort of dopamine-fuelled reward (a sweet treat, a dance, high-five etc) to encourage your brain to want to do it again.

Telling yourself off for being silly is only making your brain associate even more negative feelings with it. Rewarding the little wins will help you to keep making positive steps towards overcoming your fear.

Seek help

Lots of people have had success with things like hypnotherapy, NLP, exposure therapy and even counselling to help them manage or overcome fears. Most practitioners will offer a free chat to see if they think they could help you.

Is there a way to incorporate some of these biggest spooky themes into your Halloween decorations/outfits without being insensitive to friends who might be scared? Is there a considerate way to go about it whilst still getting in the Halloween spirit?

Halloween isn’t for everyone; especially those who might be more sensitive to freaky things. That doesn’t mean that they want to miss out on all the fun, so here are some top tips to make sure that your Halloween celebrations are as inclusive as possible:

Build costumes around values and characteristics you admire

Rather than go for the scariest looking costume or decorations, consider things you admire in traditional Halloween themes. For example courage, vulnerability, humour, creativity, silliness and resourcefulness. What can you create from those that still capture the holiday vibe but avoid the usual gore and fright?

Caricature scary things

Consider going for less realistic Halloween props and costumes in favour of more caricature-like styles. This can be super cute and still on-theme for the season.

Consider things other than visual

We use a range of senses to assess whether we are ‘safe’ or not, so people who are more easily frightened won’t just be using their eyes to stay alert. Be mindful of sounds, motion and texture (spiderwebs etc) when planning your masterpiece. Stick to fun songs rather than sound effects, and reconsider any motion-activated gadgets designed to make your guests jump!

Get talking

This time of year can be a great time to talk to kids about what Halloween is all about, why we get scared, and why people enjoy a good fright! And then if they do get frightened, we can use that as an opportunity to help them to learn about their likes and dislikes, setting boundaries and how to manage their emotions. Every day’s a school day!

Get making

Why not take the heat out of the unknown and make your decorations and costumes together! Throw a pre-halloween prep party. Get the snacks out and the silly music on, and invite everyone to bring paper, fabric, and crafty bits and you can build your perfect Halloween together.

With Halloween approaching, those looking to spook their friends might want to reconsider their decorations or Halloween costumes and opt for one of Britain's biggest fears. For tips on how to decorate for Halloween with the scariest theme guaranteed, head to Ginger Ray.