At HATW we’re big Halloween fans and just Autumn stuff in general. Pumpkin-y goodness, spooky films (except Si – he hates them!) and all of the sweet treats. Halloween is here and we wanted to remind you that getting involved in all the Halloween festivities should be the only scary thing in your life. Talking about mental health doesn’t have to be scary and having mental health issues do not have to be scary. This year let’s talk openly and honestly about mental health, how Halloween can affect us & what we can do about it to have a fun & enjoyable time all round!
The majority of us see Halloween as a time where we can binge watch all of our fave sp00ky movies, dress up & eat lots of pumpkin-y snacks. However, Halloween isn’t fun for everyone & its important to know & understand that.
We’ve made so many steps to break the stigma around mental health & the negative attitudes, words and generalisation that surrounds it. Yet every year we are confronted with mental health being used as a gimmick to sell costumes, movies & events (maybe not so much this year but its still out there!). We’ve all seen that halloween costume of a ‘psycho’ person, someone with a disability being portrayed as a scary villain or a mental health hospital being used as the setting in our favourite film. These are outdated portrayals of mental health and can have a damaging effect on society.
We’ve popped some thoughts & tips together to have a fun, sp00ky and inclusive Halloween.
Before you dress up for Halloween think about your costume – could it be offensive or upsetting to others?
We’re currently on lockdown here in Wales. So we won’t be going out & about for Halloween, trick or treating. But it’s important to keep this in mind for the future.
Instead of taking little ones knocking on strangers doors, try and keep it to friends, family and people you know are comfortable with it. If the lights aren’t on & they have no Halloween-y stuff on the doors and windows maybe give it a miss! Some people don’t like answering the door – especially to strangers wearing masks. It can cause extra anxiety and stress on someones life and no one wants that.
Big gatherings and house parties aren’t possible this year for obvious reasons. Rona, we looking at you! While you’re having your Sp00ky zoom calls, quizzes, or cinema trips, just be mindful that it might be overwhelming at times. You might find your friends – or maybe that you – need to take a break. Things in scary movies can be triggering at times (whether that’s some violence, a costume or setting of a movie). Be understanding of that & check in with them and yourself every so often. Maybe pop outside and get some fresh air or try one of our coping techniques like ‘Grounding 5,4,3,2,1’ or biting a lemon to ground yourself, or just switch off the film – there’s so many out there that you’ll eventually find something suitable for everyone to watch!
Halloween is supposed to be fun, and it’s completely possible to have a great, ultra-spooky time without stigmatising people with mental health issues. It can provide a sense of escapism and you can express aspects of yourself you might otherwise hide. It’s ok to be different, you do you!!
If you enjoyed this post (or anything on our site!) please consider picking up some Merch With a Message. It’s the main way that we’re able to keep our website going, and creating content like this! And we’ve just launched a bunch of slammin’ autumnal coloured items.