This is the time of the year when things go bump in the night, and the Jack-o’-lanterns gaze into the night with a fire in their eyes. This is Halloween! Cue the Nightmare Before Christmas music and down your costume! Unless you are someone who does not get a shiver of delight around this time of year.

You might be thinking to yourself, “Is there any way to get through this horrifying holiday without going gray?” Yes, there is! Here is a list of some smart ways to stay brave when Halloween absolutely terrifies you.

1. Do not minimize your fears

Though it might seem counter-intuitive, do not tell yourself you are not afraid. Because you are. There is nothing wrong with being scared on Halloween, because it is the Night of Terror, after all. Rather, be real.

Be real with yourself. Be real with the situation. Try to understand what scares you half to death and why. For example, if you do not like ghost stories, do not go to a haunted house with reported paranormal activity.

2. Attend “scary” attractions with friends

Using myself as an example for this one. I love Halloween and all things spooky. But leave me alone in a house alone in the dark with The Exorcism of Emily Rose or some other frightening scene and you would think otherwise. Our minds play tricks on us when we are alone. We psyche ourselves out.

So if you want to learn how to tackle your fears or at least enjoy a healthy dose of terror, use your friends as back up. Cling to – though not literally – the ones with confidence. If they are not screaming, you can take their lead and begin to tackle a haunted house or corn maze a bit more lucidly. Do note that this only works if at least one person in the group is courageous.

3. Go out early

I used to be scared of the dark as a kid. The blame lays partially on my grandmother who watched horror films at night while babysitting me. I was expected to go to sleep after watching monsters ooze through a radiator like the one in my room. Oftentimes I slept with the light on.

Since you can’t go toting a nightlight with you during Halloween, why not go to attractions and do some trick-or-treating while it is still light out? Things look much different during the daytime – and much less intimidating.

4. Do some reconnaissance

When it comes to haunted theme parks and other scary attractions, there are patterns to how things work. Just like the motion sensors that set off the animatronic ghost-cat on your front porch, most things work on the same principle in parks.

As someone who worked as a scare-actor before, we’re trained to do our “thing” when there’s flashing lights, eerie noises, and instances of pure quiet. When you recognize the key moments when someone or something might pop out, you are better prepared to mentally deal with the terror.

Stand outside the ride or location for a time and just watch things. Listen to when people scream or laugh. It will help with your bravery immensely. A lot of haunted attractions usually have descriptions on the official website, too.

5. Do not get stressed out

Obviously, anyone who is absolutely terrified of Halloween might go around as if they are hanging from witch-hunt tenterhooks (sorry). However, you would do well to remind yourself that, well, fear is what Halloween has been based on since the beginning.

Again, do not kid yourself. You are going to be scared, so do not bottle it up. Do not get stressed out about what might be lurking behind the shower curtain.

If you are scared, scream. If you have to flee for your life, do it. I know it sounds bizarre to say, “Retreat!” But if you do that, you will get your adrenaline pumping. Things will not seem as terrible when you are keyed into your instincts.

6. Speak up

If you find that even the previously mentioned tips do nothing for you, you might need to talk about your fears. Tell friends and family (or if your fear is more of a phobia, maybe a psychologist) about how Halloween makes you feel.

Do not follow others into a situation that disconcerts you, because you will end up having a horrendous time. Instead, make your own suggestions about what is fun for Halloween.

Halloween is a time of the year when our world and the supernatural one meshes together. People become fixated on cobwebs and bat wings. If you are one of those individuals who needs to chug a courage potion before heading out, try some of these tips instead. Remember that most of what you see are just part of your imagination!

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