A mum with a crippling fear of Halloween is too scared to leave her home in October.
Catherine Blackmore, 43, has been diagnosed with samhainophobia, which hit after she saw a spooky film as a young girl.
The teacher also has masklophobia, a fear of people in masks and costumes, making the season even more difficult for her.
The terror kicks in at the end of summer, getting worse as Halloween outfits hit the shops.
Catherine, from Cardiff, said: “Come the end of August, just as everyone is winding down from summer, I start to feel on my guard. I know I only have a limited time before things start to change.
“As soon as the stores begin stocking Halloween items such as masks, costumes and decorations I can no longer go into town.
“I imagine the spooky stuff coming to life and following me around the aisles and I’ve wound myself up about it before to the extent that I was physically sick.”
When her two daughters were young they had to hide their Halloween costumes from her before changing at a friend’s house so husband Steven could take them out trick-or-treating.
Her phobias were diagnosed in 2009 but were triggered when she caught a glimpse of the 1978 Jamie Lee Curtis film, Halloween.
She said: “I must have been about four or five and the guy in the mask absolutely terrified me.”
Catherine has tried counselling but claims her fears are “too deep, too locked in” to be cured.
She added: “I still have to be careful what I watch today.
"I was working in an office and walked in one day to find the whole place covered in Halloween decorations and all the staff wearing masks. I ended up hiding in the bathroom.”
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