There’s a biological reason for it.
I’m actually not a fan of being scared. I hold everybody’s stuff when they want to ride a roller coaster at an amusement park while sitting sidelined on a bench and pass when the movie of choice is a horror flick. It’s not my jam, but I’m largely in the minority. There’s a reason stuff like The Great Horror Campout and endless scream-inducing rides exist – people love to get the bejeezus scared out of them.
There’s actually a biological reason why folks love to get scared and it ultimately boils down to the high we get from our fright or flight reflex (but only in situations where we know we’re not really in danger).
A Ted-Ed video breaks the whole premise down very simply:
"When a threat triggers our fright or flight response, our bodies prepare for danger by releasing chemicals that change how our brains and bodies function. This automatic response jumpstarts systems that can aid in survival. They do this by making sure we have enough energy and are protected from feeling pain while shutting down non-essential systems like critical thought."
The clip also points out that in October 2015 approximately 28 million people in the US alone traversed a haunted house. That’s a pretty staggering number and a whole helluva a lot of people who like being freaked out.
I’m going to continue to pass on the scary stuff and just take every thrill-seeker’s word for it that the high is worth the intense fear that precedes it. I’ll stay here with my feet planted firmly on the ground watching my rom-coms, thank you very much.