By Julia Dwyer
As spooky season finally emerges, it’s time to pull out those musty old Halloween decorations, head to Amazon for your new Squid Game costume and open up Netflix’s terrible selection of horror movies.
However, for many Ryerson students, the regular haunts aren’t cutting it this year. To make the season really scary, some are finding just being alone with their thoughts is more horrifying than any other Halloween undertaking.
“Instead of going to a party at Pitman like I did last year, I just want to get in touch with myself, you know?” said second-year criminology student Freddy Cruller. “I’ll just settle in on my sofa bed, get comfy and let my brain go ham. By the end of the night I’ll probably end up wanting to change my name and flee the country, but…you know…”
“I’ll just settle in on my sofa bed, get comfy and let my brain go ham”
Many agree with Cruller. “What could be scarier?” asked fourth-year English student Michelle Myers. “Let everything else go quiet, wait for your ears to stop ringing and tap into the scariest place out there: your head.”
Others point out this new way of going about the season is much cheaper than other equally festive activities. Halloween attractions can be expensive for those who lean toward ‘broke’ on the income scale. Third-year biology student Annabelle McDoll isn’t going to any spooky events this year.
“I already pay my therapist. I don’t need to pay for clowns on top of that,” she said.
McDoll isn’t alone. When students are alone with their thoughts, danger is everywhere. That essay you thought you handed in yesterday? You accidentally submitted your book report on polar bears from middle school instead. That creepy guy on Tinder who never seemed to get a clue? Don’t you hear that? He’s standing right behind you. That pre-Halloween horror movie you watched last night? Yeah…BOO! Heeeeere’s Johnny!
Intrusive thoughts are just another layer on the cake. A recent survey by student run-newspaper On the Record shows one in three Ryerson students experience intrusive thoughts. Upon completion of the survey, second-year biology student Gannibal Lestor said: “My intrusive thoughts are bad, man. Like, I really thought about eating my toenails during a tutorial the other day.”
The brain can have a mind of its own
Psychologist Edna-Lorraine Warren, who wrote the award-winning novel So You’re Alone With Your Depressing Thoughts: What Now?, said the human brain can have a mind of its own.
“Being alone with yourself is deeply psychologically scarring, more so than any pumpkin patch or haunted attraction,” she said. “Your amygdala taps into that thing called fear, and suddenly you have every reason to think about how sick and twisted you really are.”
If you’re a student who doesn’t think they can handle a night alone with your thoughts, help will soon be available. Warren has set up an October-only counselling service with Ryerson. There is, however, a three-week waiting period.
In the meantime, she suggests going to Halloween Haunt at Canada’s Wonderland “to relax and unwind a little.”