Girl with black hair and half-face of scary makeup

Hello, readers! It’s spooky season, and finally, today, the ultimate spooky day — Halloween.

Yet I haven’t felt the Halloween spirit much this year. Maybe it’s because I’m working so much. Maybe it’s because I’ve been really depressed this year and haven’t been in the mood for revelries. Whatever the reason, I’ll be spending Halloween alone this year.

I used to dress up and go trick-or-treating, but for the past couple years, I’ve stayed indoors in my pajamas. I don’t get trick-or-treaters in my neighborhood, so I haven’t decorated my apartment or bought candy. I don’t have any friends where I live, so I don’t get invited to parties or events. It gets lonely, to be honest.

I have a costume (*cough* a super-cute Star Trek Starfleet communications officer dress *cough*) but whenever I think about dressing up and going downtown, I start to think, What’s the point? I won’t know anybody, and I don’t like dealing with drunk people. It’ll be loud, I’ll get a headache, I’ll be too anxious to drink, and I’ll end up going home early.

Thoughts like these are poisonous, born out of anxiety and an underlying fear of failure. Sometimes, though, we lose the battle against those thoughts, and we end up giving in to their power.

It happens. Our mental illnesses lie to us constantly, and once we get in the habit of believing those lies, it’s incredibly difficult to break away.

So I’m writing to let anybody who’s reading know that you shouldn’t feel ashamed for giving in to those thoughts tonight. Taking care of yourself is more of a priority than forcing yourself to go out and have fun. I repeat: Taking care of yourself is more of a priority than forcing yourself to go out and have fun.

Don’t let what your dressed-up friends tell you or post on social media make you feel guilty for not joining in. If you want to just dress up for your own enjoyment, then go for it. If you just want to light some candles and watch scary movies in the dark, then go for it. There’s no one right way to celebrate Halloween, and it’s perfectly fine to celebrate alone, or even choose to not celebrate at all.

If you’re a highly sensitive person like me, then loud noises and other stimuli might be incredibly overwhelming to you. Halloween is definitely a sensitivity overload, so it’s totally okay to avoid that if it’s too much for you. If you can’t handle a bunch of excited children showing up at your door begging for candy, then you’re allowed to turn off the lights and ignore the doorbell.

I suppose what I’m trying to get at is, don’t let societal or personal pressure guilt-trip you into forsaking your mental health needs tonight. You’re allowed to stay in on a holiday for your own mental health. Give yourself permission to put yourself first tonight. It’s not always easy, and you might get hit with FOMO, but you might thank yourself later.

However you enjoy Halloween, make sure you stay true to yourself. After all, spooky season always comes back, and maybe you’ll be ready for Halloween next year.