I’ve done the math: Five episodes remain in Season 1, plus an evening to prepare my costume, plus two evenings to help with my daughters’ costumes, plus candy shopping, plus the entire weekend to turn our front porch into the stuff of nightmares, plus more candy shopping, equals…well, the kids had better want to be ghosts this year.
My Halloween to-do list is almost as extensive as my Halloween bucket list, which grew even longer this week when Hotels.com emailed me its “10 travel experiences to confront your real fears.” (Too bad “Luposlipaphobia” isn’t included, as it’s one of my deepest, darkest fears.)
Between Stranger Things and everything else, I can only dream of making an Oct. 31 pilgrimage to one of these phobia-related spots:
Fear of public speaking
What better way to get over glossophobia than by standing on Speaker’s Corner in London’s Hyde Park? Karl Marx, George Orwell and Marcus Garvey are just a few of the many orators who have given speeches in a spot that stands as a symbol of free speech.
Fear of Halloween
Seriously, samhainophobia is a real condition. It’s mostly experienced by young children who don’t understand that the ghosts, vampires and Donald Trumps wandering the streets on Oct. 31 aren’t real. If you’re a grownup who still has that fear, then you may be overwhelmed by Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights.
Fear of heights
A thrilling way to confront acrophobia is to ride the elevator to the observation deck of the CN Tower in Toronto. At 553 metres, it’s the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere. If you really want to get over your fear of heights and get a shot of adrenaline at the same time, try the EdgeWalk, which will have you walking along the tower’s roof while safely tethered.
Fear of insects
Prevail over entomophobia by stuffing a few creepy crawlies into your mouth. In the night markets of Bangkok you can get a bag full of deep-fried and salted insects. Grasshoppers are a good choice, but crickets and silkworms are also on the menu.
Fear of the dark
Face a case of nyctophobia by dining in complete darkness in the Blindekuh restaurant in Zurich, where you can only use the senses of taste, touch and smell to enjoy your food. Conceived as a way for sighted people to experience a bit of the life of a blind person, these “dark dining” restaurants have popped up all over the world, including in Vancouver and Montreal.
Fear of dogs
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they can also be fearsome creatures to cynophobes. This winter, try a dogsledding experience in Canada’s Yukon. There are plenty of tour operators that will fix you up with a team of yipping and barking dogs that will carry you across the frozen land.
Fear of snakes
If you’re going to confront ophidiophobia, do it in the Land Down Under, where it seems like every other creature is out to kill you. Near Sydney you can visit the Australian Reptile Park, where you can sign up for a VIP tour that allows you to see their animals up close.
Fear of flying
By the numbers, flying is a lot safer than driving in a car. To really confront aerophobia, do it in a plane with an open cockpit so you can feel the wind in your hair. One place to do that is at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, where you can take a quick flight over the nation’s capital in a 1930s-era Waco biplane.