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How I'm 'Doing Halloween' as Someone With Anxiety

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I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t be a fan of Halloween. I’m just saying you should only listen to yourself when it comes to it.

Because for me, with general anxiety, Halloween can be too much.

Too much noise.

Too many people.

Way too crowded.

Way too spooky.


And I don’t like it. But, I don’t dislike it either. I find some costumes amazing and I enjoy a wig or a crown or a funny outfit. I can wear it that day, or during October.

But I don’t do parties, and I have anxiety while being on the streets that day. Because I feel there are way too many people, everyone walking on top of one another, with their costumes clashing together. Because there are triggering things out there — more blood, guns, screams and pointy objects.

And over the years, on my journey of accepting myself and my life, I used to hate myself for feeling that way. For not being able to enjoy Halloween in ways other young adults, like me, do. I used to feel self-conscious because I made up ridiculous excuses for not going to parties, just because as they are too crowded they make me feel like I can’t breathe and I sweat so much that my make-up runs down my face.

Until I realized I could make my own type of celebration. I could truly enjoy watching little kids as my godson making their dreams come true being their favorite character for a day. And I do. I go out and watch them, I go to foster homes, I give out candy and compliment the princesses and superheroes that come my way.

I admire the imagination and creativity some people have, and how some adorable families dress all up together in theme. But I don’t want to come to close. I get anxious to do so. In that way, last year I found the perfect “gray” in this polarized scenario. I decided to go out to have dinner in a terrace, on a restaurant in one of the trendiest places in my town. So in that way I’m somewhere I feel safe, with people that make me feel safe and through the window I see beautiful people in all kinds of costumes pass by. If I’m fearless, I go out and interact, and finally when the crowd vanishes almost completely, I walk home and enjoy the characters that are still out there.

I’ve seen people with anxiety who absolutely adore being in character on that day and for whom Halloween is one of their happiest days of the year. I’ve seen others who hate it, find it very triggering and hard.

My point is this: There isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to do Halloween. You shouldn’t feel the pressure building up and go to somewhere you don’t feel comfortable just to fit in or because the peer pressure. There are many ways to celebrate the day if that’s your desire, and there’s the way to pass it by as any other day too. And if you wish to be a part of it, from your safe space, you can also do that.

The thing is that Halloween or any holiday is stressful because we feel we have a social demand to accomplish, and the truth is we only have to respond in respect to our own mental health. The rest of the things go beyond our power and demand.

So if you enjoy completely, half or absolutely hate Halloween… Do it your way. It will be OK.

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Unsplash photo via Javier Molina

Originally published: October 24, 2017
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