By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3
I’ll admit I still don’t understand people who “love to be scared.” I try to wrap my head around it because my three teenagers feel that way about movies. The more a movie makes them flinch or gasp, the more they love it.
I’ve tried watching scary movies with our kids, but mostly I end up holding my hands in front of my eyes, cringing away from the screen and asking the kids to tell me when it’s safe to look.
As for haunted houses, I’m a hard “no.” If I want to see a few creepy strangers, I can do it during a routine trip to the grocery store. I’m not paying money to have them pop out and scream at me while wielding a chainsaw.
But like it or not, there are a few things scaring me this October. Here’s the list:
Needles: Thankfully, I no longer have an intense fear of needles like I did as a kid, but, like most people, I don’t love ‘em. I was happy to get my two Covid vaccination shots earlier this year and will gladly roll up my sleeve for a booster shot when it’s recommended for my age group. But I can do without all the close-up photos and videos of injections shown on the nightly news.
Even my husband, who donates blood every time our local blood bank asks, said he hates it when the camera zooms in on a needle piercing flesh. Why not show the person’s relieved smile when it’s over and they realize it wasn’t so bad? Or those cute cartoon Band-aids nurses sometimes put on the injection site?
All the extra needle images make it tougher for people who suffer from trypanophobia, which is defined as an “extreme fear or aversion to blood or needles.” For some people, deciding whether to get a vaccine has nothing to do with political parties or conspiracy theories and much more to do with how the thought of a needle triggers intense anxiety and a stomach-churning sense of panic. Sometimes even doctors don’t recognize how much this type of fear can shape a person’s decision to avoid medical care.
So can we all agree (television producers, I’m looking at you) that 99.9 percent of humans know what a needle injection looks like, so there’s no need to show us one every time a medical segment airs on the news. I don’t even watch it when it’s happening to my own arm, so I certainly don’t want to see one on TV either.
Me: The basket of Halloween candy on my kitchen counter is under dire threat. Something terrible is about to happen to the miniature candy bars nestled inside it. They may not even make it to October 31st. And, sadly, the “call is coming from inside the house.”
I’m afraid of what I’ll do to these tiny Twix bars and Reece’s peanut butter cups. When the sun goes down, my cravings go up. Temptation stalks me. I want to strip off their shiny foil wrappers and murder them! Chew them up but not spit them out. Devour the chocolaty nuggets and then tell the trick-or-treaters to go buy their own bag because these are mine. Mine, I say!
I know it’s wrong. I know a certain number of tiny Twix bars adds up to a full-size bar, whether I admit it or not. But who can keep count when you’re caught up in a chocolate frenzy? Halloween candy math is hard. Ask anybody.
Consequences: A real-life movie called “Revenge of the Tiny Twix Bars” shows up on waistlines nationwide sometime around the second week of November. Ironically, all those “fun-size” candy bars have a not-so-fun-size backlash on backsides. But we’ll deal with that in November.
Until then, from my family to yours, here’s hoping you have a happy Halloween with the best kind of surprises.