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This Halloween I Will Face My Greatest Fear

This Halloween I Will Face My Greatest FearYes, that’s Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Also my long time nemesis. I hate her. She stole my perfectly good name and turned it into a joke. On her About Me page she says, “When you hear the name Elvira only one person comes to mind…”

Excuse me? And what does that make me? Chopped liver?

You might be thinking, “Gee, Elvira, why would it scare you to be associated, even loosely, with a slutty, Vampira wannabe in a cheap wig?

[Yes. Before Elvira there was Vampira (circa 1953), the first ever late night horror film hostess. She was featured in that wonderfully campy Tim Burton film ‘Ed Wood’, with Johnny Depp as the cross dressing Mr. Wood.]


I don’t really mind that much…anymore…but once upon a time I dreaded hearing my name mispronounced and dis-respected. It hurt to hear people call me things like Velveeta cheese. God! Couldn’t my name at least sound like a classy cheese, l don’t know… Bree?

It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure out why I would get defensive, not to say persnickety, or snotty, but maybe those, too. Your name is your badge of honor, your coat of arms, your flag. I went through years and years, ever since I could talk, correcting people about how to say and spell my name. [Does Growing Up With a Difficult Name Build Character?] If you have a difficult name you know exactly what I’m talking about.

But I’m not touchy about my name any more. No, no, no! Having it mangled before my eyes is nothing to me now. Being mature and of a certain age has its perks, one of which is you don’t care as much. It’s nice, really. Many of my comrades in middle-age-dom like to say they are in their F*#k you, Fifties (or Forties, or Sixties) and proud of it! Maybe there’s something to that.

Could it be I’ve faced my fear of name abuse so many times and for so long that I’ve finally gotten to the other side of it? I don’t correct people as much as I used to or wince the way I used to either. I like to think I’ve grown up about it, gained some perspective.

Besides, as I said to a friend recently, it could be worse. At least Elvira/Vampira is hot in a ghoulish, Morticia Addams kind of way. Ah, Morticia! Now there’s a vampire with class!

Photo courtesy San Diego Shooter via Flickr

This Halloween I Will Face My Greatest Fear

Elvira G. Aletta, Ph.D.

Elvira G. Aletta, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, founder of Explore What’s Next, wife, and mom of two teenagers. Dr. Aletta is a writer whose articles have been featured on the New York Times Well blog, the Wall Street Journal Online, Parents magazine, NPR and the BBC London Radio. To learn more about Dr. Aletta and Explore What's Next, visit her website and blog, or follow her on Twitter!

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APA Reference
Aletta, E. (2018). This Halloween I Will Face My Greatest Fear. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 31 Oct 2009)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.