Tricks, Trigger-or-Treat: Halloween When Food is a Problem

Oct 07, 2019 at 09:11 am by aGentleDrLaura

Is Halloween a trigger for you?

Halloween. Moan, groan, urghhh.

I'll admit it. My problems with food ruined each holiday. Instead of celebrating the central idea within the holiday, all I could see was the food. I missed laughter, joy, family, friends, fun, feelings of gratefulness, and hope.

I have a philosophy that I live by. Live fully, and like myself, no matter what is happening to or around me. Thus, my goal is to live fully through Halloween, liking myself, no matter what problems Halloween hands me. And I'd like to share that goal with you.

To do this, you want to define FOR YOURSELF what 'living fully' means. Too many people have expectations that have nothing to do with their personality and nature.

"Liking yourself" means making yourself right for being who you are. Knowing your feelings about holidays past and present are healthy and based on the life you have lived. 

"No matter what" represents all the difficulties you are experiencing now. We want to include these facts in our planning.

Every holiday, I face decisions. So do you.

    •    Do I find and wear a Halloween Costume?
    •    What about the fun of decorating my home or yard?
    •    Can I deal with serving candy?
    •    What do I do about my reaction to co-workers who loudly munch candy all day long?
    •    Or people who push their homemade goodies on us and never take 'no' for an answer?
    •    Do I take the kids or grandkids trick-or-treating or not?
    •    What about parties? Do I go? How will I feel if I stay home?
    •    What's safe for me to give out as treats at my door?
    •    How can I deal with my painful feelings about a holiday like Halloween that is supposed to be fun?
    •    What about painful memories of Halloweens past?

Here's the big one: How do I turn each of those decisions from a trigger for overeating or under-eating into a safe and growing experience?

You can start with some self-examination.

What problems do I face with food?
Some people overeat. Other people starve themselves or compulsively exercise. Others face days of obsession in the face of food. And on and on. Get clear within yourself what it is you have to take care of to be good to yourself.

What do I want?
For some people, this is easy. They know themselves. Others need to write and write or talk and talk. You can journal about Halloween, talk to your friends about their ideas, or even search on the Internet to look at what other people do. Then think about the problems you face. Make your decisions to reduce the pain of this holiday's food challenge.

How do I feel about Halloween this year?
There are four core feelings: Happy, sad, mad, and afraid. And a lot of variations in between. You can always look up feeling words on the Internet to help you identify them.

Then understand that it's important to respect those feelings, not change them. If all you feel is dread, pay attention. It's not necessary to put yourself in any position that makes you feel worse.

What activities do I like during Halloween that don't include food?
Some people love being scared. They adore haunted houses and celebrate by visiting. Others love costumes. Some enjoy being around children. Others enjoy decorating their homes and offices. Think about the nonfood activities that can give you pleasure.

What activities do I NOT like during Halloween?
We can just flip that last paragraph around. Some people hate scary places or costumes. Children aren't for everyone. It's essential to listen to your "don't likes" and respect them as limits. Difficult food days are not times for increasing your challenges.

How can I give myself the things I want and need?
Then make your plans according to yourself. You do not have to go anyplace or take part in any activity that makes you unhappy. You can create your own Halloween traditions.

This includes totally ignoring the holiday.

If you answer these questions for yourself, you'll find your own personal path to a Halloween where you live fully, and like yourself, no matter what.

What do you think?


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