Enchanting and festive to some and downright ghoulish to others, Halloween is that spooktacular time of year when we can dress up as someone else and revel in sweet treats. But if you live with chronic pain, 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, it’s perfectly fine to find your own special way to enjoy October 31. Beat the season with these tricks so you can enjoy Halloween with chronic pain.
Avoid the cookie monster
Candy binges can lead to sugar-induced mood swings, inflammation in your body and weight gain. Candy is often filled with high-fructose corn syrup, which can have negative effects on your health. We often get the message that it’s OK to indulge in sweet treats this holiday season (and throughout the year), that it’s OK to treat ourselves. And maybe it is OK in moderation, but that’s subjective.
While everyone else is crashing from their sugar buzz, you can find other fun ways to enjoy Halloween. 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. Or if your heart is set on passing out candy, look for more natural options. And avoid being tempted by leftover candy the next day.
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 quick frozen waffle, apples paired with almond butter, a smoothie or a vegan dark chocolate bar. Healthier alternatives will help satisfy your craving and pack more of a nutritional punch that won’t send your sugar levels into a tailspin.
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. Try the three-bite rule; that allows 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 friends over to help you or to have a pumpkin decorating contest. Choosing decorations that can double as autumn decorations means it’s OK to leave them up after Halloween is over.
You can also buy inexpensive decorations from discount stores in your area. 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’ll be trick-or-treating with kids this year, map out a route. This means preparing yourself physically and sticking to your plan so you can enjoy Halloween with chronic pain.
If you’re not used to long periods of walking, a night of trick-or-treating may 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 where you’d like to go to make sure things go smoothly. Enlist the help of friends, family and neighbors or pay babysitter to come along to help you manage the trip.
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. This way you can enjoy the fun of dressing up without too much 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! You deserve to enjoy Halloween with chronic pain. Live in the present moment, enjoy the company of others and have a very happy Halloween!
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