Halloween Horror Nights, Ghost Tours, Haunted Houses, and other spooky season events that quite frankly suck for us HSP women! You’ve already heard me talk about scary movies and how they may not be the most fun form of entertainment for highly sensitive women. You’ve also already read my thoughts on how being easily startled is not your problem! It’s something other people can stop doing to you in order to better meet your needs. Now, let’s discuss haunted houses, Halloween Horror Nights, and the other related spooky experiences that seem to be everywhere this time of year. Here are my top 4 reasons that these spooky season staples are not fun for highly sensitive, introverted women.
They’re crowded. Halloween is a time-limited event. Spooky season is maybe a month to a month and a half long. These events are short in hosted duration which means you basically have a limited time to attend. Then, they are most likely held only at night, and sometimes, only on weekends. Maybe a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, depending on where you live. All that said, the crowds for these events are more concentrated for those reasons. It’s not a typical excursion. Not an every Friday night thing, it’s more crowded, more heightened. And, I can’t go at noon when not as many people are going to be there.
#2. Masks, Costumes, Hoods: Who are you?!?
What are you under there? Who are you? Where are you looking? Do I know you? Are you someone I run into at the grocery store? And now, you know this and you might recognize me and I don’t have the chance to recognize you. There’s something unsettling about that. It’s unnerving. This is another unnecessarily anxiety-inducing event and this questionable component of being unable to identify people around you is simply too much. Too creepy.
#3. These are Not Solo Experiences.
I GUESS you could visit a haunted house by yourself. Which, let’s be honest, no HSP would. But, It’s typically something you attend with other people. A partner, friends, or family. So, you have to try to keep your shit together. That’s tough! Especially when you’re not comfortable. They might be enjoying it. I mean, hopefully, someone in the group enjoys it if you’ve decided to go. Otherwise, we’ve all felt that societal pressure to attend and conform for fear of missing out. So, they love it. They’re having a blast getting startled and being scared and you’re just trying not to wet your pants! Maybe not literally, but no shame.
#4. Rationalizing and Diminishing Your Reality.
As an HSP, this is one of our biggest triggers. Highly sensitive people, sensitive women, are frequently told we are just too sensitive. Grow up, toughen up, and get over it. And, these manufactured realities of haunted houses, ghost tours, and fright nights provide our well-meaning friends and family with the opportunity to say very rational things. “It’s fake.”, “It’s not real.”, and, “It’s not actually happening.” How many times have you heard that? The thing is, it doesn’t matter what it really is. It matters how it feels. It matters what your experience of your present reality is. And, presently, when someone is jumping out at me with a chainsaw my body feels like there is someone jumping out at me with a chainsaw. It feels threatened by a chainsaw!
Obviously, it’s not real. But, the images and the sensations are in your brain and they will repeat themselves differently for HSP women. They will repeat, replay and they will stick in a way that is unique to highly sensitive people in a way that doesn’t happen for others. A way that intrudes and keeps intruding on your life long after the haunted experience is over.
Real Life. Real Talk: HSP Spooky Season Edition
Perhaps you can understand. Commiserate. What have you experienced? What would you add to this list? Please share with me in the comments below! In the meantime, I’ll leave you with two stories. One of mine and one from a friend.
My friend went to a haunted house in college with some friends and her boyfriend. A haunted house in St. Louis, MO that is known for being one of the scariest in the area. The people she was with knew that this wasn’t her favorite type of thing to do. They knew, but she decided to go and have this experience with her friends. So, she ends up in one of the rooms near the middle or end of the haunted house that looks like a butcher’s freezer. A meat storage area. So, there were a lot of smells, and sensory things that were overwhelming. Fake pigs and other meat hanging from the ceiling, knives, sharp objects, cleavers, etc. Of course, all of these things were fake…she knew it was fake. She’s not dumb, she’s highly sensitive. The lighting was kind of stark and weird. Think about it, smells that you can sort of taste, tactile variety even if you aren’t actually touching it. Fake blood all over which is gross and slippery. All of the typical sounds of a haunted house. Strange lighting. Rusty chains swinging around. All of the senses are accounted for. And, heightened. Then, someone came through with, you guessed it: a chainsaw.
This was too much. So, she dove under the table. She didn’t know where to go and was sort of the leader of the group at this point (who decided she should go first?). She didn’t feel like she could go around the table, she felt cornered and fight-flight-freeze took over so she ended up running under the table to get to the other side of the room for “safety”. One of her friends even followed her, while the rest of the group ended up laughing at them for years. She can laugh about it now, but to me it was a perfect example of how these types of heightened experiences affect HSPs differently.
Now, for my own story.
I decided to people-please and do something out of my comfort zone because it would please the people I was with. Even though I knew it wasn’t for me. So, I went into a couple of houses during Halloween Horror Nights in Florida. We decided I would close my eyes and have a person I loved and trusted lead me through. But, he wasn’t leading me through in a way that was working and useful. Quite frankly, he sucked at it! So, I ended up banging into the partitions or curtains. I ended up wrapped up in them in a way where I felt trapped. My senses were already heightened. I didn’t want to be there. It was too intense and dramatic, which is exactly what the experience is supposed to do. And then I ended up feeling trapped with no way to get out. So, I said to this person “You know I don’t like this shit! You were supposed to be my guide, to make this easier for me. But, I did this for you!”
All that said, I want to give you radical permission to opt out. Like I’ve done before. This wasn’t for me. My friend knew this wasn’t for her. This wasn’t a thing we do! What I should have said is “You can go, but I don’t want to pretend and end up feeling way worse.” That’s the script. “You do you, and I’m going to do me.” No shame. No hard feelings. It’s simply not the way I want to live my life and someone who truly loves and values me would respect that. Hard stop.
COACHING FOR SENSITIVE INTROVERTED WOMEN
As an HSP and introvert coach, I would love to help you figure out how to live your best life as a radical introvert. Even during spooky season festivities. Let’s connect! I help women all over the world find peace and acceptance in their introverted nature. You can learn more about my radical introvert coaching program with this free, Radical Introvert Audio Training “How to Find Peace in This Fast-Paced World”. When you’re ready to take action, I make it simple to book a free, 30-minute consultation call with me. I can’t wait to hear from you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Enid DeJesus is an introvert and HSP coach for women located in Florida, North Carolina, New York, and beyond. As a sensitive introvert herself, Enid understands the struggle. She knows the pressures you’re under to conform to a world not built for you. Yes, she gets it! That’s why Enid created her coaching program to help liberate women from the pressure to be different. To help design a life that is meant for their sensitive, introverted nature.
If you’re interested to start the radical introvert coaching program, wherever you are in the world, let’s talk!