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Halloween highlights the fun of fear

Sabina Music Rich

Every October, people walk the streets of Logan and other cities in Utah to hear scary stories about their town’s haunted history. From ghost tours to scary movies to haunted houses, theaters, hospitals and forests, people seek out horror. But what is so appealing about getting scared?

Sue Bodily said, “People love to get a thrill.” Bodily is a makeup artist at the Haunted Hollow in West Haven, Utah. She said getting scared can be beneficial: “Modest amounts of stress can make you forget what maybe your current life situation is.”

Bodily compared haunted attractions to surprise parties, hang gliding and jumping out of an airplane. She said, “Haunts do the same thing. They give people a mental break and give people the chance to be excited about something.”

Though Bodily isn’t a psychologist, she’s onto something here.

Researcher Marc Malmdorf Andersen from Aarhus University found that there is a fine line between enjoyment and fear. If people are too scared or not scared enough, haunted attractions aren’t fun. But there’s a “sweet spot” of stress that makes fear enjoyable.

Susanna Kelly hit that sweet spot at 10th West Scare House in Logan. She said, “It’s definitely not that kind of fear that sticks with you and gives you bad dreams. It’s mostly just jump scares, which is the fun kind of scare that gets you smiling, and it’s just adrenaline pumping.”

Though there might be less bloody and less clown-y ways to get adrenaline pumping,

Halloween is the season to be afraid… be very afraid.