Halloween. It might only come around for one day a year but it haunts the minds of people for much longer. The pressure to get the perfect costume, to find the right group of friends to go out with, to look sexy but not slutty, to make your makeup perfection, the amount of candy that surrounds and entices you...It can all be a lot, sometimes too much.
I think for a lot of people, myself included, Halloween is a holiday I don’t particularly look forward to. Not because it does not have the potential to be fun but because of its implications. As I have grown older, the necessity to find a costume that accentuates your body in all the right ways made me extremely uncomfortable, seeing as I was never very confident in my own skin. Having my instagram inundated with beautiful, skinny girls dressed as sexy nurses, teachers, aliens, skeletons, etc. never ceased to make me feel unworthy. Going out on Halloween at school and seeing girls adorned in red spandex and crop tops with devil horns or pulling off Playboy bunny outfits always left me feeling inferior. Like if I couldn’t be sexy for Halloween was I even allowed to enjoy it? This coupled with the amount and circulation of candy and sweets which I craved and longed for, sometimes giving in and eating it only to feel awful later on or completely restricting myself from it-again usually with the effect of feeling bad later on, made for an ugly combination of insecurity regarding my body and food- the perfect storm for anyone who is recovering from an eating disorder or who is currently suffering from one.
This Halloween I was aware of how hard it might be for me so I did some research and came up with a list of things that personally helped me and will, hopefully, help others too.
Buddy up! This Halloween my roommate and I decided to do a costume together based off of the characters Abbi and Ilana from the TV show Broad City. Not only was it super fun to get dressed up with my best friend but it took away the pressure of having to look super sexy since we were imitating others. I saw other people doing something similar: dressed up as Teletubbies, characters from Stranger Things, Sims characters and more! All of these costumes were the perfect solution to a.) not being alone on Halloween and b.) worrying yourself over what to wear to look “hot”.
Set Limits but don’t Limit: Listen. I am a sucker for all things sweet. Candy corn, Snickers, Reese’s...you name it and I’ll probably love it. So why not let myself enjoy it? I know there exists a fine line for me between binging and enjoying so I planned ahead. I would let myself eat two or three pieces of candy but not more, that way I could still enjoy some of my favorite treats without feeling the need to purge or just feeling bad in general.
Don’t want to go out? DON’T! I know there is always an insane amount of pressure to go out on Halloween. When you’re younger, you want to go Trick-or-Treat and when you’re older, it seems as if everyone's out partying. But that does not mean you have to. I have a ton of friends who have decided that this Halloween, going out won’t be the move. Instead they’ve planned movie marathons of all the best Halloween movies. If you tend to have social anxiety or your eating disorder worries increase when you go out, try staying in instead. It’s just as fun and, honestly, you’re not missing much.
I know this list is short but, for me, it made the world of difference over the weekend and, hopefully, for actual Halloween on Tuesday. Halloween is scary for a number of reasons and it’s not just the fake spiders or creepy skeleton makeup. It’s important to remember that everyone’s anxieties are heightened on Halloween. Don’t be afraid to tell someone you trust before going out about why you’re worried. Halloween can be very intimidating if you let it but not if you remember that it’s just a Holiday that comes around once a year and as soon as it starts, it will end.