Don’t Get “Webbed”: Halloween, Pumpkins and Spiders!

I love October.  Autumn is beginning to settle in.  My wife and I celebrate our wedding anniversary and her birthday.  We take our fall vacation.  We decorate for Halloween and my wife carves a few pumpkins.  Not ordinary pumpkin faces, but creative, scary pumpkin faces.  She definitely has a talent for pumpkin carving.

At our house, October is also spider month.  We usually have six or seven major webs strategically built around our walkway stairs, deck and landscaping.  And this year, our garden spiders are BIG!

Halloween Craft Courtesy of MarthaStewart.com

My wife doesn’t appreciate the webs.  They get in her way and always at the most inopportune time.  When my oldest daughter visits, she will not come to our front door without first calling me from her car begging for me to meet her in the driveway and then escorting her to the front door.  My youngest daughter thinks spiders (in their webs) are cool. We read “Charlotte’s Web” a few times when she was a girl and I believe it changed her position on spiders.

I used to be afraid of spiders.  I remember watching an old episode of Rod Serling’s “Night Gallery” when I was a boy.  It was the episode where the woman flushed the spider down the drain and it would come back larger each time until it was a giant spider in the room.  Scary! Creepy!  From that point on, I would do my best to always avoid spiders.  Yet, how could something so small and purposeful cause so many people so much anxiety and fear?

In western societies as many as 55% of females and 18% of males

are estimated to experience arachnophobia.

Why are we afraid of spiders?  Well, for my wife, they are just plain creepy.  I have an associate at the mortuary who is so terrified by spiders that she nears fainting just at the mention of the word. We never joke about spiders with her. We’re afraid we’ll literally scare her to death! I have a friend who grew up thinking that all spiders are poisonous. To clarify,they’re not.Movies have portrayed spiders in so many scary ways that we all probably expect to run into a giant spider in any cave, jungle or forest that we might explore.

Fear of spiders is considered a “specific phobia.” “Specific phobias” are considered anxiety disorders; about 7 percent of all people have this kind of phobia.

I got over my fear of spiders by becoming fascinated by their web-making abilities and their usefulness as bug-catchers.  I can stand and watch a spider spin its web without any anxiety or fear.  Over the past ten or so years, I have looked forward to our different species of garden spiders coming out to find a place to build their webs.

Right now, we have one who is living in our bamboo forest.  Another has a large web stretching from our palm tree to the hedge by our wall.  A big, bulbous spider has its web attached from the corner of the roof to the BBQ on the deck.  I do have a new-comer to the neighborhood who built an impressive web a third of the way across our deck.  Per my wife’s request, I relocated that spider to a nice area in our front landscaping near our large Plumeria.  It greets me every morning as I walk down to the driveway to my car.

So, here it is, October.  The season of spooky Halloween stories.  Trick-or treaters dressed as witches and princesses; pirates and superheroes.  Black cats and full moons.  Mummies and vampires…and spiders.

I don’t fear my spiders anymore.  I actually like having them around.  They catch a lot of bugs and flying insects that might have made it into the house.  They spin majestic webs that really do shine in the full moons light.  I guess they’ve become more than spiders to me.  They are my little Halloween pets.

Happy Halloween!

 

Are you still afraid of spiders?   If not, how did you get over the fear?

Chris

About Chris

Surf’s Up! It is amazing that I’ve been surfing for forty years. My wife and I enjoy life in the beach community of Capistrano Beach, CA. When I’m not at the office, I can be found surfing the breaks from Cotten’s Point to Church. I also run CIM Records (www.cimrecords.com) which releases my CD’s, “The Roar Of The Approaching Night” and “Songs For An AIDS Free World.” My next release, “The Designs Of A Desperate Heart” is still in production with Rick Dellefield (Cantata Studios) co-producing. As a writer, I co-wrote the live-action screenplay “Ghost Dance” with animation artist/director Stark Howell. I’ve also completed my own screenplay, “A Day of Loss.” In order to avoid a fine, I must say that I am an active member and past president of the Rotary Club of San Juan Capistrano, CA. Service Above Self.

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  • Carrie Bayer

    Chris, I must admit I did my best to read your blog but I’m getting freaked out! I have a great appreciation for the purpose these creatures serve & for their artistic ability in weaving their webs but I am having a hard time co-existing with them in any way. I really wish I wasn’t so afraid of them, especially because I know it’s a ridiculous phobia. Maybe one day I will have an encounter with them that isn’t terrifying & I will see that we can live in peace. XOXOX Carrie

    • Christopher Iverson

      Carrie,

      I know how much you love spiders. Our spiders will keep you from stealing our jack-o-lanters and candy!!! Peace Always, Chris

  • Anne Collins

    Chris
    Spiders. Yech! Actually, when one finds me in my bed at night which has happened twice in the last 5 years, it is NOT nice and the bite leaves a hole in your skin when it heals! But to see them forming their amazing webs and growing larger and larger through the fall season is wonderful to watch. Just not at the front entryway or they are going to have to take a trip and start again.
    Lou and I worry about the natural creatures. When we see dead bees on the sidewalk, it is devastating. This year on our cross country trip, there were absolutely NO birds in the farm regions and there always used to be. That is just not right. We both always stop and pick up the earthworms that are stupid enough to crawl across a sidewalk to their death in the mornings to get away from the sprinklers. I had to bend down more than 40 times earlier this week on a short walk. Good for me and it saves a few worms.
    All God’s creatures serve some purpose…even you and me.
    Hugs
    Anne

    • Christopher Iverson

      Anne,

      …and a time for every purpose under heaven. Even spiders. Peace Always, Chris

  • Marianne Piotrowski

    My fear of spiders stems from being bitten by a non venomous spider which passed a bacterial infection into my blood. I ended up in the hospital for 2 weeks on all kinds of intravenous antibiotics until the infection began to recede. I will admit that spiders build beautiful webs and some in themselves are lovely. I saw a banana spider when I was in Hawaii, it was gorgeous but I skirted around it. I scream so loud when I see a spider that it runs one way and I the other. I usually try to get them caught and returned out of doors. However if they are not willing to return outside, they meet an untimely death I’m sorry to say.

    • Christopher Iverson

      Marianne,

      Most of the spiders in our house get relocated outside. But when my wife requests that the spider gets the ax, I too send them to an early grave. You survived the bite…but will you survive Halloween Night??? Peace Always, Chris

  • Chris,
    I always love posts & ideas that make me think differently about things I’ve had set opinions on. We are trained from our youth to be afraid of and disdain spiders when most of us have no reason to other then that they’re kindof creepy looking. There have been several new big spiders in our back yard that we’ve marveled over – while I can’t get too close I can still admire the creatures they are.

    You’ll love this too, I’m actually watching “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and they just stepped into the spider cave – now I think that would overwhelm any of us (especially because they’re actual monsters here). But how odd to realize that when I see a little spider my fear is as big as if I was seeing a huge monster spider.

    I’m going to make every attempt to calm myself, relax, and refocus my fear when I see a spider. I love your perspective & your drive to see beauty & function in all things.
    Thanks for the great post!

    • Christopher Iverson

      Molly,

      Harry and Ron confront the spider of all our nightmares…one with 10,000 babies hungry for fresh meat. Thankfully, most spiders outside of Huntington Beach don’t eat people! Peace Always, Chris.

  • Lori

    Chris,
    I agree that spider webs are beautiful. I wish we could work out a deal that they spin them a little higher so I do not consistently walk through them when I walk the dogs in the morning.
    Maybe you should start going home at lunch to care for your little pets. 🙂
    I appreciate your love for all of God’s creatures.

    Lori

    • Christopher Iverson

      Pistol,

      Walking through a web in the morning or evening always comes with the same response…Ahhh! Peace Always, Chris

      • Carrie Bayer

        I turn into a kung fu master when I walk thru a web….. It must be hilarious for the person watching me karate-chop my way out of the web. CB

  • Hi Chris –

    I think spiders are kinda weird yet kinda cool at the sometime. If they keep their distance they can stay alive, if they jump me, they are more than likely dead. If they are just crawling around in my house I will try and escort them outdoors, yet once again if they resist they may not make it. I love bees, frogs, and monkeys!

    • Christopher Iverson

      Neil,

      You can find a very Zen-like quiet watching a spider spin it’s web. But we will never get comfortable with a spider crawling on our bodies. Peace Always! Chris

  • Kari Leslie

    Chris,
    Love this blog!! So light and reflective of who you are. A nice glimpse into your creepy spider filled home…LOL!

  • amy

    Chris,

    I marvel going out in the morning to see what type of web my spider friends have made for me overnight. It is just amazing to me how such a small thing can make such a beautiful thing.
    Thanks for sharing your story and being so good to the spider friends.

    Amy

  • Patricia Kolstad

    Hey Chris . . . I don’t agree with you when it comes to “not hating spiders” any more. I hate them with a passion!

    They are creepy looking and I only know that the black widow is really a beast! I don’t like little spiders and I really don’t like big ones. I use to have my ex-husband kill the ones I found in the house. Now that I live by myself, it’s all up to me . . . so I’ve become a fearless spider destroyer!

    That’s all I want to say about spiders . . . it makes me feel icky just writing about them!

    Thanks for giving me the chills . . .

    Pat