How to Deal When You Despise Halloween

If you’re anything like me, you love fall but loathe Halloween. This morning however, as my groggy brain sparked to life, I had an epiphany in regards to a mindset that I’ve been cultivating for about a year now: focusing on what I do want (or like) instead of what I don’t, and how exactly I can apply it to this holiday.

Change the story

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If you pay attention to the things we say every day, you’ll notice we tell ourselves a lot of stories (look for things that start with “never” or “always” or in this instance, “I don’t like”). When you find yourself saying, Ugh, I hate Halloween! (yes, words that come out of my mouth every year, more than once), express instead your gratitude for the season, or things about October you appreciate. For all the times I complain about the 31st, I can think of a dozen reasons I love this month: I get to celebrate my birthday as well as my younger son’s; I love the colors of changing trees, cooler weather (especially the rain), getting to wear cute sweaters and boots, delicious foods and warm drinks, etc. 

Maybe you can’t think of anything about Halloween itself that you like, so try saying to yourself, “So many children have fun and find happiness by dressing up as their heroes. I’m glad I can offer another way to put smiles on their faces.” Maybe you can’t stand the idea of loading kids up with sugar, so in that case, opt to give out non-food items (this is a great idea anyway for people with allergies). There is always a way to turn what you don’t like into something you do. When you change the narrative surrounding something that is negative for you into something positive, you’ll discover happiness in it.

focus on what you can control

Halloween’s here to stay, and rather than bemoaning all the reasons or things about it that bug you (ha ha - ‘cause, you know, spiders), focus on things you DO like. Not a big fan of horror movies? What about some great suspense flicks? (personally, I’m a fan of Alfred Hitchcock) or some fun fall-themed films (see my Obsessions post about those here). And if nothing else, I’ve never met a person who can’t enjoy It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

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If you’re not into scary decorations of ghouls and witches and such (again with the spiders, people), look for the things you do enjoy. Channel your inner Edgar Allen Poe and put up some black lace and ravens, or go even more classic with some Shakespeare, and turn those skulls into a Hamlet motif. Maybe you like more modern Sci-Fi thrillers and you can creative with some Alien-style decor. Or just embrace the colors of autumn, put up some orange lights and pumpkins, craft a wreath with some leaves and succulents, and decide that’s good enough for you. 

Because here’s another tip: there’s no need to compare yourself to your neighbors. Just because the whole block goes all out with fancy inflatables or light shows, or insists on covering their house with a billions giant spiders (really, does no one have any empathy for the arachnophobic?) doesn’t mean that you’re not doing Halloween “right.” You make it work for you. Embrace it and let go of peer pressure (no one is coming around handing out cash prizes for the best-decorated house… unless your homeowner’s association does that kind of thing, then maybe it’s worth it).

Be kind or be absent

See, I managed to go along with dressing up as a cat with my 2-year-old son as a puppy (2005).

See, I managed to go along with dressing up as a cat with my 2-year-old son as a puppy (2005).

You may not have kids, you may not like kids. You may have 10 kids, I don’t know. But trick-or-treating is a thing, and you have two choices. You can be nice to the kids (of ALL ages) who show up at your door, smile, give them fistfuls of candy, wish them a Happy Halloween and enjoy the smiles on their faces, or you can shut off your lights and pretend you’re not home (or go out to a movie or something so you actually aren’t home). 

I’ll raise my hand and say that the constant doorbell ringing can make me a little stressed out, and the fact my dog goes insane with hysterical barking EVERY SINGLE TIME doesn’t help with that. But you know what, make the kids happy. Don’t be a monster (unless it’s your costume, but even then, be a kind monster). 

Let Others Love It

The same way you can’t just wish Halloween out of existence, you also can’t make other people stop liking it (or loving it). You just gotta allow others to do their thing (and hopefully they won’t be too judgey while you’re doing yours). Put in to practice all the other stuff here: try appreciating the things you like about a friend’s costume or decorations; be kind when declining a vampire party; be nice to everyone who comes to your door. Especially if you get a few teenagers. Because I’d rather have my 15-year-old out with his friends having fun than getting drunk or trying drugs or vandalizing neighborhoods. Let them be kids as long as possible. Let people experience the joy.

All this being said, do what works for you. If none of my suggestions resonate, take a few quiet moments to reflect on what might. And if you really just can’t deal, take the day off to escape somewhere quiet and secluded, where not a single fake cobweb or spider is in sight.