Halloween in Recovery: To Celebrate or Not To Celebrate?

image for Halloween in recovery - close up of white pumpkin decorated in black ink with ghosts and bats, held by woman in pink dress

Halloween isn’t the easiest holiday when in recovery from an eating disorder. Fun sized candies aren’t really what their name suggests.

Just eating one can be a challenge. So can feeling unable to stop. The thought of bowls of candy in every room can make your hair stand on end.

If the candy wasn’t enough, finding a costume and the self-esteem to wear it can make you want to boycott this holiday altogether.

Want to boycott Halloween in recovery?

I actually boycotted it for years while in recovery. I knew the internal pressure I placed on myself to have the perfect costume and perfect body to match it was counterproductive to my healing.

The first year I didn’t celebrate I felt like the Scrooge of Halloween. But the second year I fully realized that it’s okay to not go out and celebrate!

If Halloween will be triggering, there is absolutely no harm in not participating.

Do not feel bad and berate yourself. Congratulate yourself for honoring your needs. It will be there next year and the year after that. It is okay to sit a year out if you know it will help you in recovery.

…or celebrate Halloween in recovery?

If you are set on celebrating remember it’s not what you wear. It’s how you wear it! This goes for any day of the year, but can be really helpful on Halloween.

It is easy to get sucked into the compare and despair trap when everyone is walking around in a sexy [fill in the blank] costume.

If you feel comfortable and confident with what you are wearing you will be more focused on having fun, and that is what really matters.

My story

This reminds me of my senior year of high school when my best friend and I decided to go to a party dressed as Wayne and Garth from the movie Wayne’s World. We thought our costumes were hilarious and approached the night with an upbeat and positive mood.

Since we were dressed as two grungy boys we figured not many guys would take interest in us. But we didn’t care, we loved our costumes and wanted to have fun. 

As it turned out, a complete shock to us, guys were flirting with us left and right. The two most popular girls in the school were prancing around in leotards looking for similar attention. This story confirms my belief that wearing a costume with confidence will ensure a fun night.

image of jessica and her friend dressed as Wayne and Garth from Wayne's World for Halloween

Wayne’s World party time excellent! #MustSeeMovie

And remember this:

Whatever your plans are for today and this weekend, put your recovery first.

There are likely to be challenges that will come up. Face them like a warrior with courage, determination, and honor.

What about you? Are you staying home or going out this Halloween? If you are, what are you dressing up as? Tell us in the comments below!

Image: @augustbrill

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