Trick or trigger? Learn why Halloween can be tough for people with PTSD


The leaves are falling. Pumpkins are piled high beside the grocery store door. Vacant storefronts have turned into Halloween superstores. There’s a lot to love about the season: candy, cute kids in costumes, community togetherness.

For thrill seekers, it’s prime season for horror movies and haunted houses. And getting in the spirit can mean spreading the fearful fun with gory lawn decorations.

The problem: Fear isn’t fun for everyone.

Many people with panic attacks and symptoms of PTSD live in a state of high alert every day. They see the world with fear and uncertainty even without bloody lawn decor and motion-activated spiders jumping out at them.
This year as you think about costumes or begin to decorate your yard, consider how your choices affect others. What looks like a silly Halloween prop to you could feel like a real-life experience to someone who’s been through trauma.

Some safer ways to celebrate:

  • Limit outdoor decor that could be triggering.
  • If you choose to have gory decorations, keep them inside where they’re less likely to be seen without warning.
  • Don’t jump out at or touch people you don’t know are OK with it.
  • If someone in your life lives with traumatic stress symptoms, ask them what’s comfortable for them this time of year.

Read more about what it’s like to live with PTSD symptoms.


Reach out to a member of our team today to find out if Freespira is right for you.

05670 Rev A

A loving father of African descent sits on the couch at home and reads a storybook to his preschool age daughter. The child is sitting on her father's lap and is smiling while looking at the book.

Feeling stuck? Try kindness instead of criticism.

A beautiful mixed race young adult woman embraces her vibrant retirement age mother. The mother and daughter are enjoying a relaxing walk in nature on a beautiful, sunny day. In the background is a mountainous evergreen forest bathed in sunlight.

Unlock the Power of Self-Compassion

Enjoying the hilltop views. Happy mature hiker looking away with a smile on his face while standing on top of a hill with a backpack. Adventurous backpacker enjoying a hike at sunset.

3 Steps to Using Self-Talk for Good