Dealing With Trick-or-Treaters and Social Anxiety

Like it or not, trick-or-treaters are here to stay.. Getty / Cultura RM / Jacabel

Your doorbell could potentially ring more times on Halloween night than it does the whole rest of the year. How do you cope with the constant visitors if you suffer with social anxiety disorder (SAD)? There are a number of strategies that you can use to handle the stress of Halloween, from not participating altogether to becoming the best-dressed house on the block. Below are some tips to help you cope with the anxiety created by trick-or-treaters at your door.

Go Out for the Night

If the idea of strangers ringing your doorbell all night is just too much to handle, consider making plans to be away for the night. Be sure to lock all doors and leave on some lights so that your house does not attract too much attention on a night when pranksters and hooligans abound, and beforewarned that you may come home to egg on your door or toilet paper in your trees anyway. If you are feeling particularly brave that night but don't want to face trick-or-treaters, make plans to go to a Halloween party to challenge your anxiety.

Turn Off the Lights

If you don't want to get involved in handing out candy for Halloween but don't want to head out for the night, there is nothing wrong with simply turning off your lights. Trick-or-treaters will know that your house is off-limits and you shouldn't be bothered. Since you will be sitting in the dark, it might be a good night to rent a movie and make popcorn.

Choose a Specific Time

If avoiding Halloween altogether doesn't sit well with you, consider only handing out candy during certain hours of the night. Most of the youngest (and cutest) children will visit between the hours of 6 and 8, so it is perfectly acceptable to only hand out candy for those couple of hours.

Dress in Costume

One way to take the edge off of your anxiety about answering the door is to pretend to be someone else. In the true spirit of Halloween, get dressed up in a costume that disguises your identity and also gives trick-or-treaters something interesting to notice other than your anxiety. If you are feeling especially anxious, choose a costume that includes a mask to cover your face.

Take Turns Answering the Door

If there is more than one member of your household, make sure to take turns answering the door to help alleviate sensory overload and give everyone a break. You can either choose specific time slots, or alternate answering the door; whatever works best. The additional benefit of this method is that if you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by anxiety, others can simply take over Halloween duties for the night.

Go Elaborate

As the saying goes, "If you can't beat them, join them". If you really want to put your social anxiety to the test, consider being the best-dressed house on the block.

Carve lots of pumpkins, string orange lights, set up a tombstone on your front lawn, and hang ghosts from your trees. Your home will be a hit with the neighborhood kids and the decorations will give you a potential conversation topic to break the ice with parents.

Whatever your qualms are about answering the door on Halloween night, remember that it can be a great way to get to know parents and chidren in your neighborhood. Whether you have lived on the same street for 10 years or just moved in, this is a chance to learn a bit more about your neighbors, and for them to learn a bit about you.

Continue Reading