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Spooky Pumpkin Carving Ideas Comments Off on Spooky Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Posted on October 28, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball


Are you all ready for Halloween this weekend yet? Have you picked your outfit? Decorated your home?  Bought sweets for trick or treaters? It’s time to carve your pumpkin now!

We love these Disney pumpkins – and here are some great printables for Disney pumpkins. This one’s our favourite:


If Disney is not your thing, here are some more traditional templates guaranteed to give visitors a fright.

For those who want something a little more… different: how about using a power drill to carve your pumpkin?


This is really fun but also much quicker than using a kitchen knife. You can create much more intricate, detailed designs that will look really effective once the pumpkin is lit.


If you get to the shop and find they’ve already sold out of pumpkins, don’t panic! You can always use another fruit or vegetable…

Source: BuzzFeed

Source: BuzzFeed

We love Halloween, and pumpkin carving is a really fun part of it. Here we’ve shown you a few ideas to make it less scary and more of a fun activity. We’d love to see your finished designs; don’t forget to share them with us on our Facebook page!

DIY Children’s Halloween Costumes Comments Off on DIY Children’s Halloween Costumes

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball



Halloween is on its way! Have you been invited to a Halloween party yet? These days lots of schools and nurseries allow children to come in wearing a costume, and then there are parties at youth clubs, and Brownies or Cubs or whatever else. And if you’re not doing any of that, you’re still not off the hook – because they will need a Halloween costume to go trick or treating!

Fear not! Here are X DIY Halloween costumes for children that you can knock up without too much bother…

1. Ghost

We thought we’d start with the most obvious and easy. All you need is an old bed sheet – and perhaps a belt to hold it in place. We won’t insult your intelligence by telling you to cut eye holes…

2. Skeleton

You’ll need old black trousers and a long sleeved top. You can buy a cheap plastic skeleton mask from your loal pound shop. Find a picture of a skeleton (Google “cartoon skeleton”) and use white paint or chalk pen to draw the bones onto the costume. Don’t forget to draw the bones on the back as well as the front!

Extra points if you use some creepy glow in the dark paint  for the bones!

3. Olaf from Frozen

We’ve found this super easy tutorial for making a DIY Olaf costume. All you need are white clothes to wear underneath!

4.  A Cat

This one is easier than you think. Find brown or black trousers and top for the body of the cat. For the ears, you can either buy a cheap set from the pound shop, or make your own using pieces of cardboard stuck to an alice band. Draw on some whiskers using an eyeliner or eyebrow pencil. You can make a tail using an old piece of brown or black material; either just cut a long strip and sew onto the back of the trousers, or sew a wider piece into a tube and stuff with cotton wool or old tights.

5. A Witch

You’ll need a black skirt and long-sleeved top for this one. Accessorise with a black cloak – if you don’t have one, an offcut from the fabric shop will do. You can get a witch’s hat from your local pound shop, and can use green face paint to really add to the look!

6. A White Rabbit

You’ll need an adult’s old white sweatshirt for this: the larger, the better (unless your child is very small!). Take a look at the full tutorial here.

7. Raining Cats & Dogs

This is one of those genius costumes that looks great, but is actually really simple. Find a rain poncho or old waterproof. The sort of thing you buy cheap at theme parks is perfect. Next you’ll need an old umbrella and some cuddly toys – cats and dogs, obviously. If you don’t want to hang your cuddly toys from the umbrella (poor pussies and pooches!) then you can use cut-out pictures stuck onto card. You can use a template, print it out, colour it black and stick it to card. Then you use thread to tie the cats and dogs to the umbrella. The final piece of the costume is, of course, welly boots.


So there you have seven super-simple DIY Halloween costume ideas for children. If you decide to try any of them, don’t forget to send us a photo on Facebook or Twitter!

Become a Zombie on the Cheap! Comments Off on Become a Zombie on the Cheap!

Posted on February 04, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

become a zombie


If you’re a fan, you’ll already know that the new series of Walking Dead hits our screens soon. In honour of perhaps the best zombie series ever made, here is our guide to becoming a zombie on the cheap… and without the nasty, biting part.

The first thing to think about is your outfit.  Will you be a zombie nurse, a zombie chimp, maybe even a zombie penguin?  Whatever you’re going for, the important thing to remember is that it needs to be ripped, dirty and probably spattered with blood and/or brains. Zombies are not careful eaters.

You don’t need to buy a costume; you can just wear old clothes and mess them up a bit with some strategic tearing and smearing. Super cheap and easy to do.

Next is the make up. We love this tutorial for Walking Dead zombie because you don’t need loads of professional special effect make up, just standard make up and fake blood. And really, who doesn’t have fake blood hanging around the house any way…


The final, very important point, is to perfect the walk. Often the first giveaway that the person heading towards you is a zombie is the way they are walking. Here’s a good tutorial for how to walk like a zombie. If you can’t be doing with all that reading, here’s a handy video:

And finally, the most important part of becoming a zombie… BRAINS! No normal food for you; zombies do not have a varied diet. Don’t worry though; we’ve found this fantastic tutorial for making brains. Perfect!


Enjoy the return of the Walking Dead… and your brains! Nom…

2015: A Look Ahead… Part 2! Comments Off on 2015: A Look Ahead… Part 2!

Posted on January 07, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

2015- A Look Ahead (1)

Welcome to the second part of our look ahead to 2015, where we share all of the fantastic fancy dress opportunities going on…


July 1st is Canada Day, Canada’s national day. Dress as a mountie, or another famous Canadian… like… er… Avril Lavigne! The second is World UFO Day, so there is plenty of scope for alien costumes, and then it’s International Tiger Day on the 29th. Rawr!


August is a great month for fancy dress: the 8th is International Cat Day, and if you want to go a little more hardcore, the 10th is World Lion Day! If cats aren’t your thing, the 26th is Dog Day too! If you’re not into dressing as an animal, dust off the Christmas costumes and celebrate Be An Angel Day on the 22nd.


September is Chicken Month! It’s possibly not practical to dress as a chicken all month… but for part of it? If you’re not really feeling the love for the chicken costumes, what about waiting for Teddy Bear Day on the 9th? The 13th is Roald Dahl Day, which is definitely something to look forward to. Of course, everyone knows the 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day – obviously, you’ll already have that one marked on your calendar. And then, we round off the month of fancy dress fun on the 26th with Lumberjack Day!


As the weather turns colder, the fancy dress outfits become more fun, right? October has plenty of opportunities for bonkers fancy dress outfits, with World Farm Animals Day on the 2nd, and World Animal Day on the 4th. Then we have Mad Hatter Day on the 6th, World Octopus Day on the 8th and a definite favourite: Punk for a Day Day on the 25th! Of course, October is also the fancy dress high-point of the year, with Halloween on the 31st! We always look forward to this one!


November is fairly quiet for fancy dress, aside from the obvious Guy Fawkes Night. The 3rd is Jellyfish Day – that would be a fun costume to put together! And the 10th is Sesame Street Day; which character will you dress as?


December is a fantastic month for fancy dress. Aside from all the festive fancy dress opportunities, there is World Wildlife Conservation Day on the 4th – why not dress as a panda? International Day of the Ninja is on the 5th; the 14th is Monkey Day, and the 21st is International Dalek Remembrance Day. Imagine the fun you could have getting a costume together for that one!


And there we have it: 2015 in a nutshell. We hope you’ll stick around and see what else is going on through the course of the year!




Halloween Party Games for Adults Comments Off on Halloween Party Games for Adults

Posted on October 29, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball



Halloween is not just for the kids, you know! If you’re planning the ultimate scare-fest party for your guests this Halloween, you’ll be wanting some awesome games to play.

Here’s our top 5 Halloween party games for adults…


1. Murder Mystery

Well durr, it’s Halloween – someone has to die, right? Put a twist on the usual murder mystery by having your victim come back as a screeching, howling zombie. Enrol the help of secret friends to jump out of cupboards or play corpses or mummies in your haunted murder house.

2. Halloween Jinx

As your guests arrive, hand them a set number of spooky tokens – witches’ fingers, eye balls, whatever you can find. Inform them of two or three words they’re not allowed to say for the whole evening. Choose your words carefully so that your guests will find it difficult to avoid saying them (for example, if you’ve decorated the room with a massive skeleton, make “skeleton” one of the words they’re not allowed to say). Any time someone says a forbidden word, someone who hears it gives them one of their tokens.

At the end of the night, the person with the most tokens must perform a forefeit – as disgusting, spooky and horrid as you can think of (and involving as much fake blood as you can find, obviously).

3. Frozen Halloween T Shirts

Get some t shirts, preferably with Halloween-based prints. Submerge each one in a bowl or tray of water (with red food colouring, for extra effect) and freeze over night. Split your party into teams, and tell them the first team to have a member wearing their t shirt wins a prize. Then sit back and watch as they try to hack their way into their blocks of ice!

4. Halloween Film Festival

What’s better than an evening watching scary movies? Making your friends act them out, of course! Provide props (plastic knives, fake blood, masks, etc) and have your guests split into groups. Each group chooses a different Halloween movie and acts it out to the rest of you. Points for best overall re-enactment, most realistic scream, best use of props etc.

5. Murder in the Dark

Get a deck of cards, and remove all the Jokers, Aces and Kings. Replace one of each, and shuffle the deck. Deal the cards out to the players. Whoever gets the Ace is the murderer; the King is the detective; the Joker is the second detective, if the first is murdered. Then switch all the lights off, and everyone wanders about. The murderer must quietly kill as many people as possible without being caught; they do this by tapping them on the shoulder and whispering “you’re dead!” The victim must then die as quietly as possible. The game continues until someone finds a corpse; then they shout “murder in the dark!” At this point, the lights are switched on and the detective (or substitute, if the detective has died) must figure out who the murderer is. Make the game more fun by giving the murderer a bottle of fake blood with which to squirt the victims.


Spooky Halloween Party Games for Kids Comments Off on Spooky Halloween Party Games for Kids

Posted on October 27, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball


Halloween is just around the corner!

Celebrations don’t have to be only the super-scary domain of the grown ups though; kids love to get involved in a bit of spooky fun. So long as you tone down the blood and gore a little, it’s easy to come up with a fun, entertaining party for the little people.

Here are our top five games to play with children:

Spooky Stories

Children love a spooky story; even more so if it’s a bit gruesome! Sit all the children in a circle and turn the lights off. If you like, leave some night lights or lamps on in the corners. Tell a spooky story of your choosing, as gruesome and spooky as you think your charges can handle. Beforehand, prepare some bowls of “evidence” – cooked spaghetti make good intestines; peeled grapes for eye balls; jelly for brains. Think up a fabulously spooky, gruesome story full of jumps and screams.

Bobbing for Apples

The old ones are usually the best! Simply fill a big bowl with water and fill it with apples. If you don’t fancy having a gang of wet-haired children running around, a great twist on the traditional is to skewer apples through the core and suspend them on string from a beam (or branches if you have a suitable tree in the garden). Challenge the children to “catch” the apples with their mouths, without using their hands.

Winky Murder

One person is chosen as the detective; he or she goes out of the room while a murderer is chosen. Everyone then sits in a circle, and the detective comes in. The murderer must kill their victims by winking at them… the trick is to murder everyone, before the detective figures out who’s the culprit!

Guess the Ghost

The children sit in a big circle, and some music is put on. The children take it in turns to be blindfolded and walk around the circle, touching each child’s head. When the music stops, the child whose head is being touched must let out a ghostly wail; the person who is “it” must guess the ghost! If they are correct, they swap places with the ghost; if not, they go around for another turn.

Dress the Mummy

The party is split into groups of two or more, and provided with lots of toilet roll. The aim of the game is for each group to dress one of its members as a mummy as quickly as possible within the time. Prizes are given for the best coverage, or perhaps the best impression of a mummy!

And there we have it: everything you need to plan a cracking Halloween party for your children. Enjoy!

Trick or Treating on the rise: Coventry is the trick-or-treat capital of the UK Comments Off on Trick or Treating on the rise: Coventry is the trick-or-treat capital of the UK

Posted on October 24, 2014 by Karl Young

National Trick or Treating survey forecast national rise in Halloweeners

Coventry has been crowned the “trick-or-treat capital of Britain in a study that has looked at the UK’s attitudes towards the apparently declining tradition of trick or treating.

A staggering 94% of the city’s children are planning on taking to the streets this Halloween, way above the national average of 70%.  While the UK as a whole is on average likely to see a 2% rise in children heading out this Halloween.

These findings are from a myth busting survey into the attitudes towards trick or treating, carried out by online fancy dress retailer, fancydressball.co.uk.

The survey also suggests that households can now look beyond the negative stigma previously associated with the tradition. Families are now looking at Halloween as a night to enjoy dressing up and a chance to engage with the local community.

While Coventry has the most trick or treaters, Wolverhampton was found to be the UK’s most generous city when it comes to trick-or-treaters as 69% of parents suggesting that they would be willing to dish-out toys and money, as well as the more traditional sweet and fruits generations before has come accustom too.

Brighton and Hove/Gloucester were both crowned the thriftiest cities, as only 11% of parents were happy to gift money to Halloweeners, compared to the national average of 43%.

Elsewhere, Worcester was crowned the most unwelcoming place to trick or treat, with only 46% of parents willing to take their children out or let a friend/family do it.

Among the most popular places to trick or treat were Swansea in second place and Norwich in third. Wrexham and Aberdeen also made the list, seeing a significant rise above the national average in numbers expected ‘Halloweeners’.

Highest Number of trick or treaters by population percentage
1. Coventry 94%
2. Swansea 85%
3. Norwich 84%
4. Portsmouth 83%
5. Wrexham 83%
6. Aberdeen 82%
7. Plymouth 81%
8. Edinburgh 81%
9. Newcastle 79%
10. Brighton and Hove 78%

Most Generous

1. Wolverhampton
2. Liverpool
3. London
4. Bristol
5. Birmingham

Sweets remain the most popular ‘treat’, with money second – fruit though is also surprisingly popular at 22%. Londoners’ are most likely to give money away, Brummies’ are most likely to give fruit away and Mancunians’ are most likely to give toys away than other city.

Surprisingly, Brighton and Hove and Gloucester both topped the list of the thriftiest cities suggesting that they welcome ghosts and ghouls but are likely to keep their hands in their pockets, sticking to the more traditional gifting of sweets and fruit.

Most thrifty

1.    Brighton and Hove

2.    Gloucester

3.    Portsmouth

4.    Leicester

5.    Southampton

Expect to see lots of witches at your front door. The broomstick-riding, cauldron-stirring, fairy-tale characters are Britain’s favourite fancy dress costume when it comes to trick-or-treating with 18% of the nation opting for the pointy black hat.

Dracula (18%), Mummies (15%) and ghosts (14%) will also be out in force on October 31. While films and television inspired costumes will be out in force it is clear to see that the public still hold the original costumes close to their hearts.

Owner of the family run fancy dress site, Paul Howcroft, believes that the growing popularity of fancy dress has helped boost trick or treat numbers over the last decade.

He said: “Fancy dress costumes have become more accessible to the general public as the prices of costumes have come down in recent years and the range of costumes available both on and offline is incredible.”

“People love dressing up for Halloween, parents love dressing up their children and pets as well. Trick or treating brings the community together and for one night a year neighbours and neighbourhoods are creating a magical night for the young ones.”

The survey was distributed to 1,000 people in the UK and has revealed the most and least generous cities, as well as the top 10 cities for number of people planning to go trick-or-treating. The findings may shock you – see below for an interactive map that lets you explore the results!

What do you think? Are these results what you expected? Do you live in any of the cities mentioned? What are your plans for this Halloween?

Scary Halloween Food Comments Off on Scary Halloween Food

Posted on October 15, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball



We love Halloween. It’s the best night of the year in the fancy dress calendar, isn’t it? You can dress up as whatever you want and generally have a fantastic old time.

Of course, the best thing about Halloween is a good party… and the best Halloween parties have fantastic, scary food to help you celebrate!

Here’s our top five of fabulously scary Halloween treats:

1. Jelly Worms

This is super easy, but really effective – and a bit disgusting. A winning combination, as far as we’re concerned! Grab a bunch of drinking straws, fasten them together with an elastic band and stand them upright in a beaker. Then make up some jelly – add a little more water than usual to the mixture, put it into a jug, and pour into the straws. Leave the jelly to set as usual, and then shake your worms out of the straws!

2. Spider Cookies

This is so easy, it’s embarrassing. Get some chocolate chip cookies (you can make them yourself if you’re feeling industrious), and make up some chocolate icing using icing sugar, melted plain chocolate and butter. Pipe chocolate spider legs onto all of the chips in your cookies, and voila – spider cookies!

3. Hot Dog Mummies

These look really great! Buy a pack of pre-rolled short crust pastry and cut it into thin strips (like mummy bandages). Then wrap the bandages around sausages and bake – hey presto, hot dog mummies!

4. Dracula’s Dentures

We love these spooky treats because they’re so easy and quick to make. All you need are some cookies or biscuits, some red icing, marshmallows and almond slivers. Turn a cookie upside down, and cut it in half. Spread each half with red icing, making sure it’s thick enough to be seen from the round edges. Then line up mini marshmallows as teeth along the round edge of one of the sides, and sandwich the two pieces together. Use two slivers of almond for fangs, and hey presto you have a scary, smiling and tasty treat!

5. Pumpkin Pretzels

Another super easy one: make up some orange icing and coat a pretzel, then use a green Smartie or M&M as the stalk. The easy ones are always most effective! If you don’t like pretzels, you can do the same with crackers or biscuits. Why not experiment with using black icing to make a jack o’lantern face on your pumpkins too?

Of course, there are hundreds of really elaborate ideas and recipes online for intricate Halloween designs – but we always find it’s more fun to spend less time making the scary food, and more time making the scary faces!


Have a spoooooooooky Halloween!

The UK’s Most Haunted Locations Comments Off on The UK’s Most Haunted Locations

Posted on October 13, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball


Not sure if you’ve noticed… but Halloween is coming up! In honour of our favourite time of the year, here is our list of five of the most haunted places in the UK…

Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon

This is reportedly one of the most haunted castles in the UK. There are two ghosts, the White Lady and the Blue Lady. The Blue Lady haunts the tower; it is said that she lures people to the tower to help her, but if they go to her aid, they will fall to their death. The White Lady haunts the dungeon, a dark and dingy place even on the brightest of sunny days. Built in the late 15th century, the castle was abandoned in the late 17th century and fell into ruin – but that doesn’t seem to have deterred the ghosts!

The Tower of London

This is often described as the most haunted building in the UK, and that’s not surprising when you consider how old it is; it was used as a prison, and people were sent “to the Tower” from 1100 right up to 1952. Among numerous ghosts is that of Henry VI. It is said that he haunts the Wakefield Tower, and on the anniversary of his death he paces around the tower until the clock strikes midnight. There is a White Lady haunting the White Tower; she has been seen waving at visitors to the Tower; the smell of her perfume has apparently made many guards feel physically sick!

Chillingham Castle, Northumberland

With a name like that, it has to be haunted doesn’t it! This castle dates back to the 12th century, and has had a record eight executions, some of whom were hanged, drawn and quartered; it’s said all eight souls still haunt the castle now.  Ghosts include the Blue Boy and Lady Mary as well as There are frequent ghost tours around the castle, so it’s definitely worth a visit – especially at this time of year!

Borley Rectory, Essex

This was a Victorian mansion, until it was destroyed by fire in 1939. There have been reports of paranormal goings on here as far back as the 1860s, when people often reported hearing footsteps in the dead of night. There have been numerous reports of ghosts, including that of a nun, two headless horsemen, a phantom carriage and the ringing of the servants’ bells and bottles being thrown.

Village of Pluckley, Kent

Yes, this entire village in Kent is said to be incredibly haunted – it is said to be the most haunted village in Britain and was awarded this title in the 1989 Guinness Book of Records. There have been between 12 and 16 ghosts reported in the village including a screaming man, a schoolmaster found hanged by a group of children, a highwayman, and an old woman who would sit on a bridge smoking. This village is a favourite haunt of ghost hunters across the country, so it’s bound to be pretty busy over the next few weeks.

If you’re planning a ghost tour this Halloween, these could be some great places to visit… otherwise, lots of towns and cities have their own ghost tours of local buildings – places you never knew were haunted! And of course, if you’re going to a haunted house, you need to be in costume in order to fully embrace the atmosphere!

The Psychology of Fear Comments Off on The Psychology of Fear

Posted on October 09, 2014 by Karl Young

Today we explore the psychology of fear, and delve into the human mind to understand how stimuli make us afraid, and how our body causes the fear reflex we are all so familiar with. Two questions are asked, why are you afraid and why are you afraid.

Why are YOU afraid?

 Anticipation vs stimulus

 Even the most crippling of fears can often be traced back to one event. Each subsequent time you encounter and fear the stimulus, whether it is threatening or not, you are strengthening its hold on you. Tightening the grip it has over your psyche. This is involuntary and unavoidable.

Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist, trained dogs to salivate upon hearing the ring of a bell if they were used to being given food after the bell sounded. After several times hearing the bell and eating food, the dogs began to salivate in anticipation when they heard the bell, regardless of whether food arrived.

This is an example of classic conditioning, where a conditioned stimulus (bell) causes and unconditioned response (salivation) – replace the bell with spiders and the salivation with fear, and you have a simplified view of one of the underpinning causes of fear.


People around you are afraid

 You may feel you have free will and full agency of your emotions, but crowd responses can have an unprecedented effect on your fear levels. Have you ever looked around to see how other passengers were reacting when a flight encountered turbulence, for example?

This natural tendency to look at others’ responses to decide whether to be afraid can be helpful if there is an authority figure to explain and waylay your fear (the pilot explaining over the plane’s Tannoy that “these are just minor turbulence, nothing to worry about”). But when there is no authority figure, it can quickly descend into panic:

 You are a slave to your amygdala

 Increasing your understanding of fear doesn’t necessarily prevent you from succumbing to it.

The amygdala will trigger your fight/flight reflexes before the more rational parts of your brain are able to fully process the stimulus. This causes the familiar physical effects that accompany fear: ‘butterflies’ in the stomach, dry mouth, sweaty palms, dizziness, shortness of breath, stammering, and inability to think clearly. Professor Wilson explained during a lecture that this response is “part of our evolutionary heritage and would have survival value if fighting or running away from an audience were appropriate”.


Why are you AFRAID?


 When fears develop in a child, are they becoming afraid anew, or is the centre that processes fear becoming more matured: enough to fully ‘fear’ innate fears?

Classical conditioning, mentioned previously, has been demonstrated numerous times in laboratories. One particularly intriguing example is an experiment carried out by Gordon R Stephenson. The popular story about this experiment involves 2 groups of monkeys, a banana, a ladder and an ice water hose. When a monkey climbed to the banana, all of the group were sprayed with the water. When one monkey was replaced with another who had never been sprayed, the new one quickly attempted to reach the banana, but was beaten by the other monkeys who knew about the water spray.

The actual version of the study is slightly less story-friendly and involves a lot of scientific jargon, but the monkeys did indeed learn to be wary of manipulating a stimulus for fear of receiving a punishment. Parallels can be drawn between this behaviour and the tendency for children to become afraid of the same things as their parents, with little understanding of the actual threat the stimuli present (if any).

Some fears are thought to be innate, however. Fear of heights has been shown in babies who have never been exposed to them previously, suggesting that they are somehow hardwired into the brain.

So are fears innate, learned, or some combination of the two? We just don’t know


The nature of fear: 5 types

A theory exists that all fears are a combination of five underlying outcomes, namely loss of autonomy, mutilation, separation, ego-death and extinction. Think of it the same way as taste, where each flavour is arises from some combination of sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, sourness and umami.

If it’s hard to grasp, think about how some of the 10 most common American fears factor into this theory:

Spiders are predatory and aggressive. They are capable of biting and poisoning their victims, which would trigger fear of mutilation and even extinction.



Image used under Creative Commons from dickuhne on Flickr (source)

 Being a failure, while more abstract a concept than spiders, represents a possibility of ego-death and separation. The former from feeling humiliated and ashamed of your failures, the latter from being abandoned by your friends and family as a result of your failures. The worst possible outcome is a loss of integrity of the self, the disintegration of one’s constructed sense of worthiness, and becoming a non-person – not wanted or valued by anyone else.

War and gang violence, both in the top 10 list, give rise to the possibility of mutilation and extinction and, more subtly, loss of autonomy. The changes to daily life during wartime are restrictive, and, while unlikely, there is the risk of being imprisoned for your views.


You should be grateful

An indiscriminate amygdala that cannot be negotiated with may seem like a burden in a safe and comfortable environment; being scared of snakes has very little survival value in the UK. Do not forget that you owe it a debt of gratitude for your survival so far (and that of your entire genetic line).

You should also thank the combination of common and primal fears with more esoteric and modern fears like being mugged and nuclear war. This adaptability ensures your ongoing survival; ultimately, the amygdala’s penchant for making you jittery in the presence of stimuli that aren’t necessarily threatening is an artefact of millions of years of having your back.

Consider it like a particularly grouchy granddad: old and angry, but wise and well-meaning.


Part 2 of this series, ‘how to overcome your fears‘ is coming February 29th 2015.

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