When the calendar flips to October, creepy-crawlies of every size and shape come out of the woodwork, attics, and basements to join the Halloween fun. Spiders, in particular, enjoy an odd kind of popularity at this time of year. Homeowners decorate their windows and shrubbery with faux-webs, and GINORMOUS hairy-legged plastic arachnids hang near the front door waiting for unsuspecting trick-or-treaters.
It’s now common for Americans to decorate cars for the Christmas holiday so I find it curious that lifestyle marketers have yet to start an All Hallows’ Eve vehicle decoration trend as well.
Then again, given some recent news and YouTube videos documenting human reactions to finding a life-sized spider in their car—careening into oncoming traffic, jumping from a moving vehicle, setting their automobile ablaze—maybe the potential profits simply don’t warrant the liability headaches.
As with zombies, vampires, and werewolves, the threat posed by spiders is… well, it isn’t completely fictional but it is totally overblown.
This is especially true in North America, where we have only two groups of venomous arachnids that pose any concern—widows (the infamous black and the recently introduced brown) and brown recluses. While spider bites can be painful, especially those of the brown recluse, fatal reactions are extremely unlikely. Like, winning millions in the lottery rare. A Bureau of Labor Statistics report cites a total of seven in the U.S. over the eight-year period between 2003-2010.
Entomologists like to quote an old saying, “You’re never more than five feet (or three, or nine—choose your favorite single integer number) from a spider.”
Whether you know it or not.
Even in the Arctic.
Which means, most of your waking and sleeping life you’ve been living harmoniously (albeit obliviously) side-by-side with the same humble, mostly harmless, often helpful, silk-spinning arthropods that cause you to lose your mind when one decides to tag along on a trip to the grocery store to buy treats for October 31st visitors.
Let’s use a little spidey sense, people! If you happen to find yourself playing Uber driver to a tiny eight-legged neighbor, take a deep breath. Keep your hands on the wheel, your heart in your chest. Upon returning home give the interior a thorough vacuuming and go about your day, safe in the knowledge that you do not look like a Butterfingers bar, even when viewed through eight-eyes.