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Halloween can be a really exciting time—but it also has the ability to be really harmful. The holiday and some of the “festivities” that happen during it can be triggering to some people. Here are a few ways things might be triggering and what might help.

Movies

A lot of people really enjoy scary movies, but I find them very triggering. Two of the staples in horror films are very upsetting to me: Jump-scares trigger my anxiety and shots of suicide and hangings remind me of my mother’s suicide. It’s an awful feeling to be in those situations, especially if you’re with someone who is really enjoying the movie. I tend to avoid scary movies in general if I can. If you want to watch them, that’s OK too. You can look away and have your friends tell you when it’s OK to look or just watch a Disney movie afterwards to get your mind off of it. If you’re unsure about a movie, this site is updated regularly and accepts suggestions, though it is not a comprehensive list.

Costumes

Dressing up is one of the most fun parts of Halloween, but sometimes “funny” costumes aren’t as funny as you would think. There’s a movement on Tumblr about what types of costumes are offensive. People seem to be becoming aware that wearing black face or men dressing up as Caitlin Jenner is offensive, which is great. But a lot of people don’t seem to be aware that there are other costumes that are also bad. People will dress up as mental patients or as disorders themselves. I have seen multiple versions of the Anna Rexia (anorexic) costume. These costumes are not harmless. They promote the stigma associated with those who experience mental illness and hinders others from getting treatment because it’s viewed as a “joke.” The biggest thing to be aware of how your costume might make someone else feel.

Parties

A holiday is no reason to jeopardize your well-being. If you end up at a place where you feel really uncomfortable, don’t feel like you’re stuck or obligated to stay. Talk to your friends and one may choose to leave with you. Say goodbye on your way out or just wait until later to shoot a text saying you appreciate being invited.

The most important thing is to take care of yourself. You can do this by learning your triggers. Halloween may help learn about your triggers. Just check in with yourself to make sure you’re still doing OK. If all else fails, Caspar is on Netflix.


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