For most of us, Halloween is a pretty great time of year. Whether you’re a kid getting set for an epic candy binge
or a parent handing out candy
or perhaps you simply want to bust out a creative costume
But, much like family holidays, it can also be an unpleasant trigger for those experiencing mental illness. The expectation that, because you live in a neighborhood with children, you’ll hand out Halloween candy, can be unnerving for anxious people, especially with people knocking on your door late into the evening.
Even the costumes and spooky theme of Halloween is enough to make for an unpleasant experience for those who deal with mental illness.
If you find yourself feeling anxious around Halloween, here are a few ‘tricks’ to manage these triggers.
Go at your own pace
Always remember you get to make your own decisions and you can dictate your pace. Going to a party? If it takes you some time to get yourself right, arrive late if you need to. You can also use breathing exercises to help the anxiety. OR…you don’t need to go to the party! If it bothers you enough to cause you great distress, avoiding altogether to maintain your balance is perfectly acceptable, despite the social pressures we can often feel.
Leave candy outside your door
Does the coming and going of trick-or-treaters unnerve you? For some people this is the case, and an easy solution for those that still wish to participate is to leave candy outside the front door (with a note) for the trick-or-treaters to grab as they please. We can’t say children will behave perfectly in this candy honour system, but if the candy container is empty it’s fairly universal for ‘party is over’ at your house.
Don’t want to participate? Lights off and no decorations
Tsk tsk, right? Well, fighting back our inner child who wants candy at EVERY house, there’s no shame in not participating. While people can often feel the social pressure in the neighborhood to participate in the Halloween festivities, again, if it causes you distress it’s perfectly acceptable to not partake. It’s universally understood that if a house is not featuring any Halloween décor, it’s likely not giving out candy. Sometimes, turning the lights off on the main floor and bundling up for a movie in the basement is a good option to give off the impression that you’re not home, as well.
Have a safe, happy, and HEALTHY Halloween!