Carnival Cruise Line has kicked off this year’s celebrations in a truly Aussie way, with the Splendor sporting a big spider decoration on her arrival into Sydney.

A recent Halloween survey by Carnival Cruise Line found that half the nation is afraid of spiders, with creepy crawlies topping the list of things that most scare them – well ahead of public speaking, heights and the dark, according to a statement released by the cruise line.

The survey of more than 1,000 Australians also revealed that a fifth of respondents believe October 31 is about scaring people, with more than a third saying they get dressed up as something scary like a witch or a ghost.

Carnival Cruise Line Vice President Australia Jennifer Vandekreeke said when they realised Australian-based superliner Carnival Spirit would be in Sydney on the eve of Halloween, they couldn’t resist getting in on the act.

“As an American cruise line, we could be accused of going a bit OTT with Halloween. It’s a big event across our 24-ship fleet - including our Australian-based superliners Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend - and we wanted to share some of that frightful fun with Sydneysiders by doing something big that screamed Aussie Halloween,” Vandekreeke said.

Carnival’s Halloween survey found that 71 percent of Aussies feel Halloween has become more popular in recent years, while a fifth would like to see October 31 become a public holiday.