How to Deal with Halloween Anxiety

October 25, 2017

Halloween is a time of frights, horror, and of course, candy.  Although goblins and ghouls can entice some, for many it can be a time of terror – not the good kind. For some, it can heighten anxiety that was present before the trick or treating has even begun. Children are especially prone to anxiety during Halloween; masks and other disguises can be very scary and intimating for children. This can be a trying and scary time for adults as well. Most tips and articles are geared towards helping children, but adults can feel anxiety from Halloween. Those who have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), for example, can feel the stress of not knowing who is under that mask and may experience traumatic flashbacks.

To help prevent and reduce anxiety for adults, here are some tips:

  • You do not have to give out candy or answer the door. If answering the door increases your anxiety, put a bowl outside the door or turn off your outside light. People will get the hint.
  • Don’t push yourself (too hard). It’s okay to recognize that Halloween triggers you. Accept those emotions and do something that makes you happy. Seeing a movie or going to a restaurant during “treat or treating” times is okay and may help reduce some of that anxiety. Be mindful of your feelings!
  • Seek support from others. Whether this is through support groups or friends and family, seeking support can be comforting and help reduce some of the anxiety you may feel. Support groups or other therapeutic means can be meaningful in assisting you to remember that you are not alone. Talk about your feelings, talk about your anxiety; burying your emotions may cause higher levels of anxiety.
  • Remind yourself that your anxiety does not define you. Social events, including Halloween, provide a situation in which many feel that they need to accomplish certain goals or be a part of certain activities. This may increase your anxiety and overwhelming feelings may overcome you. Remember, your anxiety is not who you are, it is something you feel.
  • Seek therapy! Seeking therapy to assist with anxiety is beneficial in determining how to establish coping skills and reduce those anxious feelings.

To help prevent and reduce anxiety for children, here are some tips:

  • Travel in groups when trick or treating. Traveling in groups can help a child feel more secure and safe.
  • Parents, trick or treat with your children. This can help you keep an eye on your child and help prevent anxiety from you or your children that they are alone at night.
  • If your child does not want to trick or treat, do not force them. It can be frustrating if you’ve already bought them a costume, but they may be frightened or just do not want too. Offer them another activity such as handing out candy. The safety of their home may be comforting for them.
  • Talk to your child about how they are feeling. Unlike adults, children normally do not understand or know how to mask their feelings and can be very vocal about them. If a child is afraid, there is a reason for that. Do not mask or minimize their feelings by stating that they are okay, but instead help them understand that there is nothing to be afraid of.
  • If your child is afraid, try trick or treating in the daytime. Some children are afraid of the dark because they cannot see who or what may be lurking in the night. Daytime can help eliminate a lot of these fears.


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