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Halloween can be a difficult time for people who have suffered a past trauma. What seems to be harmless fun for some can trigger paralyzing memories for others.
Memories of childhood abuse, rape, domestic abuse, military combat, natural disasters, and/or violent attacks may be unleashed by a number of things, many which cannot be avoided throughout the Halloween season.
Some of these triggers include, but are not limited to horror films, haunted houses, decorations, music, scents, costumes, etc. While not all can be avoided, there are ways to protect ourselves.
Here are a few ways to navigate around your trauma triggers:
- Swap horror movies with comedies or mysteries.
- Stay away from haunted houses or mazes. Being terrified by scary characters that jump out and grab people may be an adrenaline rush for some, but for others it can paralyze them with fear. Corn mazes can also trigger feelings of helplessness or of being trapped.
- Have a support system in place. Spend Halloween night with those who either don’t celebrate the holiday or don’t get any trick-or-treaters if costumes are one of your triggers. Go out for dinner or see a play. If you would still like to give out candy to kids without having to greet them, leave a bowl filled with treats by your door.
- Engage in mindfulness practices to decrease stress throughout the holiday. Click here for some mindfulness exercises.
- Seek professional help. A mental health professional can help you work through your past issues while helping you through this trigger filled holiday season. Don’t have time to see a therapist in person? Check out Online-Therapy.com and save 20% when you register via my link.
We may not be able to avoid all of our triggers throughout the Halloween season, but we can do our best to take control over our environment and take care of ourselves.