It was the American wartime president Franklyn Delano Roosevelt who first said: We have nothing to fear but fear itself. That was all very well for him to say. As a son of privilege and a president protected by a phalanx of security detail, there were plenty of people to do his fearing for him.

For the rest of us, there are many things to be afraid of and there’s no point in pretending otherwise. Contrary to another old chestnut, the best way to conquer our fears is not to confront them. That would be a silly thing to do. Fear gets very annoyed when confronted and it might lash out and clip you around the ear. The best way to conquer fears is to quietly make a list of them and then hope it happens to someone else.

It’s Halloween this weekend and seems an apposite time to draw up that list. As you go down through them you will see that there’s plenty to be scared of:



As ghosts don’t have a corporeal form, they can’t actually physically hurt you but they can be upsetting. Having one in your house is rather like looking after a small child. They wake you up at night and it may take you ages to figure out what they’re complaining about. Ghosts also slam doors and break things.



The good thing about zombies is that there has to be some sort of zombie apocalypse in order for them to appear, such as the outbreak of some sort of brain-eating virus. It should be possible to see that coming and prepare in advance. Therefore you should be looking to gather your ideal group of survivors with whom to struggle across a debris-strewn landscape to an uncertain future. In films on this subject, there’s always a lot of tension as strangers who are thrown together by circumstance struggle to get on. Now is the time to pick a group of friends with whom to survive the zombie apocalypse. Pick useful friends: one who can siphon petrol out of cars, one who can shoot zombies without any firearms training, one who can set up camp and cook and one who can drive really fast. Plus, that person you’ve fancied for ages who is currently going out with That Eejit. (Eejits don’t survive the apocalypse)



They are reputed to have a voracious appetite for blood and this compulsion has damned them to an eternally cursed life as they destroy that which they once had. On the other hand, for anyone who bought a house between 2004 and 2008, eternal life might just be the answer. You will eventually come out of negative equity.

If Twilight has taught us anything, vampires are good looking and slim – if a little pale. A growing contingent of vampires in the country would improve the general look of the place and make Ireland a leading world location for shooting vampire films.



Monsters are everywhere, particularly under the bed, in the wardrobe and stumbling around the attic. If you don’t hear anything inside the house, there is definitely one standing outside at night leering in the kitchen window with its horrible monsterish face. You may be transfixed as you look out at it. Except it’s not outside. What you’re seeing is a REFLECTION! IT’S STANDING BEHIND YOU. RUN!

Monsters will leave you alone as long as you have a healthy respect for them and stay in bed shaking with fear until the morning.


The Fairies 

We have our own home-grown bogeymen too. Although fairies and banshees are less noticeable now because everyone’s too busy on their iPhones, it is still worth keeping on the right side of the little people.  Don’t go bulldozing any fairy forts in order to create a decking area or a slurry pit. Look at what happened the last Fianna Fail government after they allowed the M3 to go through The Hill of Tara. “Sure, they could have no luck after that.”



The threat from aliens hinges not on the ones that are to come but more so from the aliens that are already here. If we’re to believe the conspiracies, a race of humanoid reptilians from the Alpha Centauri star system secretly rules the world. Apparently Queen Elizabeth is one of the foremost lizard leaders. While that might be disturbing for anyone who works in the English Market and realises how close they came to being eaten, the carry-on of Prince Harry should convince us that they are settling in more and more as time goes on.


Invading armies and /or Terminators

Climate change and over-population threaten global water supplies, meanwhile Ireland gets more and more rain. It is inevitable at some stage in the future, that we will become the target of a US-led Coalition of the Willing who will claim us as part of a war on terror. Therefore we should start hunkering down for guerrilla warfare at some stage. Stockpiling tins of beans and planting impenetrable forests are an early step. On the plus side we are more likely than any other country to have John Connors.


Wild Animals 

We are extraordinarily lucky in this country that our wildlife has been hunted or domesticated into submission. Nevertheless, there are animals, which if they organised themselves, after escaping from a misguided genetic scientist’s lab, might do us real harm. Obviously I’m talking about swans. Swans hate us already – you can tell that from looking at them. The time may come when they ram bushels of soggy sliced pan back down our throats. It’s best to start apologising now to any swans you see and perhaps start feeding them a biscuit every now and then.


That’s the last tip. After this, you’re on your own I’m afraid.

Colm O’Regan’s debut book Isn’t It Well For Ye? The Book Of Irish Mammies  was published yesterday and is available in all good bookshops. It has also been nominated for an Irish Book Award (therefore another thing to fear is ‘Other Nominees’)

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