The Every Body Is Beautiful Project

The New Rules of Halloween: Give Yourself Permission to Wear What You Want and Eat What You Like

WellnessOphelia's PlaceComment

Do you remember a time when Halloween used to be fun? Spending hours daydreaming about the “perfect” costume, plotting your trick-or-treat route for maximum candy return, and shrieking yourself silly with haunted houses, hayrides, and flicks. For some of us, it was an awesome time of year.

Then we “grow up,” and Halloween can change. It can bring up stressful feelings around body image and food choices. As women, we are often told that we must adorn ourselves with revealing, skin-tight and skin-showing costumes. As humans working to find a nurturing relationship with food, we can forgot how to embrace eating for pleasure, and allowing ourselves to "indulge.”

But what if we don’t want to dress up as a sexy vampire/werewolf/pumpkin/paint can/toothbrush/etc. What if eating a few extra treats sounds like fun, not a cause of anxiety? Here’s how to get a little bit of that spooky magic back.


Refuse to conform to society’s Halloween dress code.
Despite what you see in every pop-up Halloween shop, you do not have to put on clothing that makes you feel exposed or uncomfortable. Your body is precious, valuable, and it is yours … and you are not required to place it on display just to gain access to the Halloween fun. It’s okay to dress up as something or someone smart, scary, or silly. It’s also okay to say, “Screw it,” and put on a pair of your comfiest jeans instead.

Go old-school with your candy choices.
Our society does not make it easy to eat for pleasure, or to confidently choose treats over “superfoods.” But what if you took a step back in time and enjoyed a candy bar or snack you used to go gaga over? Tapping into nostalgia is a bit like holding the hand of younger-you and saying, “Let’s do this together. Remind me how.” As for me, I’m going to rekindle a long-lost old flame: squishy, chewy, colorful Dots! Yes, they’re made with corn syrup and a lot of food dye. No, they won’t directly aid in my physical recovery. HELL YES, they are tasty and I’m going to enjoy every single one!

Connect with a friend.
If the candy overload, the parties, and the big crowds feel triggering or stressful, it might be a good time to call on a trusted friend for support. Maybe being at a party feels like too much stimulation, but what about cozying up on the couch to watch Hocus Pocus, while handing out treats to a parade of young trick-or-treaters? You can choose to process and work through the hard emotions later, rather than in the moment, but making a loving choice for your body, mind, and soul is a step forward on the self-care journey. Who knew Halloween provided such a great opportunity to get a little closer to your own heart?


Rochelle Bilow

Warrior for Change