[Post by Julie Harman, Production Editor]
Now that I’m older and braver*, I like to celebrate Halloween by recalling all the silly childhood fears I’ve overcome. For years, I refused to walk on sidewalks if I saw any ants. Bees — I was known to leave picnics screaming. Popping balloons — this fear of mine became highly public when I not only lost the balloon-popping game at my sixth birthday party but also refused to come back outside until coaxed with cake. Spiders — and yes, this did last until my twenties. (I don’t recommend this, but living in a New York apartment with cockroaches is an instant cure for lingering arachnophobia.) In grade school, I once became so inconsolable and frozen with terror that I brought a haunted house to a confused halt and had to be escorted out by the guy carrying the fake chainsaw. As my mom loves to remind me, the haunted house was put on by a local troop of fifth-grade boy scouts.
Has anyone seen the 1980 Disney movie The Watcher in the Woods with its eerie shots of kids and dogs frolicking outside while something watches from the trees? Then you’ve witnessed the subject of another one of my childhood fears: dark woods. (Or was it just Bette Davis?) Much to my delight, Lerner published a book called Watchers in the Woods. Anyone who has felt that skin-prickling feeling while camping or hiking should read it to learn about all the many creatures from various times and cultures who reputedly watch from the woods.
Sometimes, learning more about the object of an irrational fear can help you overcome it. I challenge you to find a book or an article about something you fear — or something you used to fear. For my fellow arachnophobes, I highly recommend any book from the Arachnid World series . . . although you might want to ask a brave friend to shield the photos while you read.
A happy and courage-filled Halloween weekend to all!
*Loyal blog followers, if you noticed that this is my second post admitting to irrational fears, I’d like to note that I do have my brave moments. Really! Perhaps to be disclosed in my next post . . .
[Top image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]