By Lisa Manterfield
Halloween is a holiday that others assume everyone is joyous about, but for many of us, it’s a holiday that surprises us with all kinds of triggers. Halloween delivers a steady stream of Other People’s Children—all impossibly cute—to our neighborhoods, Facebook pages, and workplaces. It’s hard to avoid it when it comes, quite literally, knocking at your own front door.
Around Halloween, it’s a good idea to steer clear of social media, the mall, and kid-related gatherings. If you live in a family-friendly neighborhood, you might also have to deal with a steady stream of adorable munchkins.
As always, it pays to have a plan so you don’t find yourself hiding behind the couch with the lights out, pretending not to be in, because the first set of trick-or-treaters reduced you to tears and now you’re trapped in your own home. And, by the way, this is a real-life story from a reader, not a humorous hypothetical scenario.
So, how will you handle it? Do you want to turn out the lights and pretend you’re not home? Do you need to make alternative plans so you don’t have be at home during trick or treat time? During those years I wasn’t ready to face it, I’ve turned off the front lights and hidden in a back room of my house with a book. I’ve also left home before dusk and gone to dinner and the movies. Other years, I’ve decked out the lawn, bought a cauldron of sweeties, and fully embraced other people’s children (although I’ll admit there was more of the former before I could muster the strength for the latter). If you feel you want to participate by handing out goodies, consider inviting friends over for dinner so you have a back-up for answering the door, and be ready with a Plan B in case you suddenly discover you’re not as ready as you thought.
The holidays are always going to be challenging, but being aware of the emotional triggers and having a plan in place can help you to get through them and maybe even have some fun.