This is a guest post from a fellow Lupus warrior (and terrific writer), Joanna Mechlinski
No matter how old you get, it’s hard not to be swept up in the excitement of Halloween. There are parties, hilariously “scary” movies, and best of all, loads of candy! Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
Unfortunately, as lupies and others with chronic illness know all too well, it’s easy to send yourself into a flare by attempting something as overwhelming as a large social gathering or by eating too much junk food. One evening of fun can lead to feeling terrible for days afterward. But don’t despair! There are still lots of great things you can do to feel part of things, while keeping it low-key. Here are a few ideas regarding Halloween and chronic illness:
- Hand out candy to trick-or-treaters – Yes, staying at home might seem like a bit of a drag. But let’s face it, every situation becomes as much fun as you’re willing to make it! You can dress up in a unique costume or find that special treat to surprise the kids…all the while being comfy at home and knowing you can call it a night at any time.
- Watch a movie with friends – Whether it’s a Halloween classic or a cheesy independent flick nobody’s ever heard of, you’ll have a great time hanging out with a few of your nearest and dearest. Best of all, they know you well, so you don’t have to put on a smile if you aren’t feeling your best, and they’ll understand if you need to end things early.
- If you have young children and don’t want to let them down by not accompanying them on their own trick-or-treating, make it manageable. You don’t have to ring every doorbell in town in order to have fun! Make sure to set a reasonable route (and make sure the kids know what it is prior to leaving the house, so there are no unpleasant surprises!) If possible, see if you can find a friend or relative to accompany you so that some of the stress is lifted. Perhaps you can drive the group (enjoying the perks of staying seated and having a heater at the ready to combat the evening chill) while the other adult actually walks with the kids.
- If you absolutely have to have a Halloween party, try to delegate as much as possible. Can a friend be your co-host, taking on the heavy lifting of making the bulk of the plans? Can your party be potluck, alleviating the burden of having to shop for and prepare food? Don’t forget, your gathering should be about having fun with your friends, not how fancy the refreshments are.
Then, of course, there are lots of things you can do prior to the big day itself:
- Be a guest reader at your local school – Young children love being read to, and having someone other than their regular teacher to do it makes it even better. Make sure to call ahead and find out what you need to do in order to volunteer with a spooky story or two.
- Attend a pet Halloween party – Many pet stores, groomers and other places host events for the four-legged crowd and their humans. It’s loads of fun, dressing up your pet and seeing all the other funny and downright clever getups!
These are just a few ideas to get your brain swirling in the right direction. Once you start thinking, you’re bound to come up with a few great options of your own. Who knows? You might even get a new Halloween tradition started among your family or friends!
How do you juggle the holidays with chronic illness, kids, etc.? We’d love to hear more!