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15 Hacks That Can Make Halloween Easier With a Chronic Illness

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Halloween season is here, which means much of the Halloween-celebrating-world is busy planning costumes, buying candy, and carving pumpkins. But living with a chronic health condition might mean these activities are more difficult for you. Maybe you have chronic fatigue that makes trick-or-treating a challenge or pain that makes costumes hard to wear. And few people realize how physically exhausting it can be to hang decorations!

So if you’d still like to participate in some Halloween traditions, you might find it helpful to modify them to fit your physical needs or even create your own illness-friendly activities. We asked our Mighty chronic illness community to share their “hacks” that help them have a fun Halloween. Check out their creative ideas below, and let us know in the comments if you have any tips and tricks to add.

Here’s what our community told us:

1. “I’ve ordered a onesie for Halloween. I can be comfy wearing PJs while at work (yay, we get to dress up) and while taking my 6-year-old niece around a few streets.” — Charlotte A.

2.I get my stuff at the dollar store, so when it’s time to take down, I just rip it down and throw it away. Knowing this, makes it easier to get started!” — Kathryn S.

3. “Many of my decorations double for the rest of the autumn season so when Halloween is over, I only have to clean up a few Halloween-specific things. I also spend the whole month of October celebrating Halloween (watching horror movies, going to haunted houses, etc.) instead of trying to pack it all into one weekend. Lastly, I wear costumes that are loose fitting and don’t require a lot of intricacies. Instead of doing makeup, I wear a mask. Instead of doing my hair, I wear a wig. It makes it so much easier to enjoy the holiday when its not causing me pain.” — Brittany J.

4. “I save up as many spoons as I can in the days leading up to Halloween and make sure I have a few days free to do nothing afterwards, so when it comes to partying I can have fun… afterwards I just stay in bed and sleep as much as possible through the payback.” — Kitty T.

5. “My hack is literally the fact that Halloween is my Christmas and I’m obsessed with costumes. It takes over me, so I focus everything on it obsessively, all for one fab night out with friends. It gets me through an entire month of pain, anxiety, agorophobia, hyperhydrosis, a continuous migraine that hasn’t gone away for over a year, dysthymia (depression) and just generally keeps me on a high for the whole of October and part way through November, which makes a massive difference to me. It also gives me something to look forward to for a year… Halloween is my hack.” — Toni-Ericka K.

6. “My kids are still young so no skipping out. I make sure to wear comfy shoes with my costume. Map out our trick-or-treating areas so we don’t do any unnecessary walking. I wear stick-on hot patches under my clothes for pain and if it’s cold make sure to remember gloves for the pain in my hands.” — Heather M.

7. “My Halloween gear stays up year ’round. Little twinkle lights help brighten my dark days, and Halloween is my favorite holiday. When I really want to feel cozy and need extra warmth I throw on my Felyne (any other monster hunters here?) kigu [animal onesie] and watch horror shows on Netflix. In the dark, but obviously with my kitty for company.” — Birch C.

8.I make myself a comfy spot on the porch up against the wall with blankets and pillows so I can hand out candy. My husband takes over if I need to stand or stretch or go lay down. Also, we go to the drive-in to see horror movies so I can get out and stand if needed or even lay in the backseat with my ice packs. A regular movie theater is pretty much out of the question.” — Sarah C.

9. “A lot of my symptoms can be controlled by food and making sure I hydrate fully. So I watch what I eat and drink more than usual for days in advance so when I’m standing in lines for haunted houses and other events, I’m generally OK. While in line, I’m doing a lot of my stretches so that my back pain doesn’t get any worse from the standing.” — Jen S.

10. “It is hard to find a reason dress up, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t. I’ve dressed up and then just taken some fun/cool photos for Instagram and Facebook (complete with fake blood and fangs) before then changing back into normal clothes (or your glow-in-the-dark jack-o-lantern raglan…). It lets you have the fun (and artistry, for some of us) of dressing up without forcing you to go out to make it worth the effort.” — Melissa H.

11.I dress up in a fluffy comfy unicorn costume and hand out candy to the kids. The costume is designed for easy on and off, not too much effort required. But when I’m handing out candy I sit on a huge warm blanket. And my mom always makes me a hot coffee. It’s not much of a hack, but it keeps me feeling like part of the world. If only for a day.” — April R.

12. “I can’t host parties or attend them like I used to so I look forward to trick-or-treat night. I have more than 200 treaters and I enjoy seeing the costumes and the kids having fun. I sit in a comfy chair on the porch, I try to dress up and I hand out ribbons/awards for costumes (best homemade, scariest, funniest, most original). I have fun seeing their fun.” — Kemmeth R.

13. “[I practice] my costume and makeup so I know how much time it’ll take and how many spoons I’ll have left after it’s done.” — Kate B.

14. “Seeing as Halloween is kind of a lifestyle for me, I’ve found that if you have a neighbor or friend who can take half the load of decorating and handing out candy, it helps. We sit in the garage and pass candy out, this way we’re out of the wind and can sit in comfortable chairs with a heater going if it’s cold.” — Jessica G.

15. “Last Halloween was the day I found out I had to withdraw from school — since I hadn’t been able to make a costume due to my concussion, I put on an outfit of clothing I already had that looked like Rachel’s in the ‘Friends’ intro and took photos with my boyfriend on his balcony. That way I still got to feel like I dressed up, but didn’t have to deal with a party with crowds and noise or the concentration it would take to make a costume.” — Bailey CK

Originally published: October 6, 2017
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