For most people, Halloween is a fun and spooky holiday where you get to dress up like your favorite character and eat sweet treats. For people who live with chronic pain; however, Halloween can mean a fight against food allergies, uncomfortable costumes and painful trick-or-treating walks through the neighborhood.
While you might not partake in Halloween like everyone else, you are unique, and can find your own special way to enjoy October 31st. Don’t let chronic pain take the treat out of your holiday. Beat the season with these tricks for enjoying Halloween when you have chronic pain.
Avoid the Cookie Monster
Candy binges can lead to sugar-induced mood swings, inflammation in your body and weight gain. Candy is filled with high-fructose corn syrup and artificial colors, both of which have negative effects on your health.
Our society makes it seem like it’s “OK” to indulge in sweet treats this holiday season. While everyone else is crashing from their sugar buzz, you can find other fun ways to enjoy Halloween. It can be tempting to eat leftover candy. Instead of passing out candy to trick-or-treaters, consider treats like small toys or party favors (available at your local dollar or party store), temporary tattoos, silly putty or vampire teeth.
You might already be used to saying no to treats due to dietary restrictions, but that doesn’t mean the temptation isn’t there. If you really have a sweet tooth, try a multi-grain waffle or banana covered in peanut butter, a smoothie or dark chocolate bar. These healthier alternatives will satisfy your craving and pack more of a nutritional punch that won’t send your sugar levels into a tailspin.
For more healthy treat ideas, read Healthy Halloween Treats.
Finally, if you’re at a Halloween party or work and someone has brought in sweet treats, you might feel pressured to indulge. You can participate, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat an entire tray of cookies. If your dietary restrictions allow it, try the three-bite rule. Three bites allow you to participate without having to pay for it later.
Use Double-Duty Pumpkins
Decorating can be tiring, so plan ahead. Rest up a few days before you decide to decorate, and invite a friend over to help you.
Choosing decorations that can double as autumn decorations means it’s OK to leave them up after Halloween is over. Brittany J. from The Mighty community uses this strategy.
“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,” she said.
You can also buy inexpensive decorations from the dollar store. Then, when it’s time to take down the decorations, just rip them down and throw them away or recycle. Sometimes just knowing this makes it easier to get started.
Make a Trick-or-Treat Plan
If you will be trick-or-treating with the kids, map out a plan for success. This means preparing yourself physically and making a plan for your night.
If you’re not used to long periods of walking, a long night of trick-or-treating will easily wear you out. Plan ahead, and go for walks around the block or enjoy other fall outdoor activities before the big night to help prepare your body for the added activity.
Before you head out, map out a plan of where you want to go. Having a plan in place will help things go more smoothly the night-of. You can also enlist the help of others. Pay a teenager or babysitter to come along, or walk with friends.
Masks and Wigs are Lifesavers
Choose costumes that don’t require a lot of effort. For example, use a mask instead of makeup or a wig instead of doing your hair. These hacks allow you to dress up without all of the hassle.
If you use a wheelchair or service dog, include these items into your costume. Halloween is a great time of the year to show your creative side.
Laugh and Cackle the Night Away
Laughter is a great distraction from pain. Halloween is supposed to be fun, so make sure to take time to enjoy the holiday. Live in the present moment, enjoy the company of others, and have a very happy Halloween!