Nicole Siegfried PhD, CEDS, joined abc7 for Mental Health Monday. She spoke on how certain costumes could be triggering and how costumes depicting mental illness (i.e. psych ward patients) adds to the stigma around mental illness. From haunted hause psych ward mazes to straight jackets and drug addict costumes, these elements of Halloween can can decrease the likelihood of a person getting help when they do need it.
That’s not the potential concern with Halloween and mental health. For those who struggle with post traumatic stress disorder or have other anxiety disorders, being startled or scared may not be a pleasurable experience. Dr. Siegfried points out that knowing yourself is important For those who are uncomfortable, choosing activities without the fear can be helpful. Another factor is making sure that activities are age appropriate. Children who see their parents being safe and having fun will perceive the same thing.
While some may dread the fear, others love the feeling of being afraid. That’s because we can have the adrenaline and fear areas of our brain activated at the same time that the safe areas of our brain. In addition, there’s a finality or a closure that we don’t have in real life.