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Depression on Halloween? You’re probably wondering who could possibly be depressed on Halloween—the holiday designated for candy-eating and dressing up in fun costumes. Well, the truth is that many people struggle with depression on Halloween and every other holiday. In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression right now; and that number doesn’t get any better with the coming holidays or celebrations.

The development of depression can be caused by a multitude of elements: postpartum, the death of a loved one, or even the change of the seasons. But one key factor that plagues those who suffer from depression is loneliness. If you anticipate being alone this Halloween, here are 7 great ways to fight those familiar feelings of depression:

    1) Get into the holiday spirit and put up some decorations.

    You don’t have to go all out if you don’t want to, but stringing up orange lights, carving a pumpkin for the front porch, and hanging some spooky (but fun) decorations can be a lot of fun and lift your spirits. Getting up and doing something physical will also release endorphins, which help fight stress and pain—this alone will make you feel better and more energetic.

    2) Don’t be afraid to get dressed up!

    A lot of people are hesitant to dress up for Halloween (adults, at least), but that’s what this holiday is all about. So don’t be embarrassed—get into the holiday spirit and put on a silly, scary, or awesome costume for the day. Come on, it’s Halloween! Be a kid again and lose yourself in this fun tradition before returning to normal life.

    3) Welcome trick-or-treaters.

    You might decide against dressing up and that’s okay—as long as you welcome trick-or-treaters with open arms and a plethora of candy! Turn the front porch light on so kids know they’re welcome and let their wonderment rub off on you. Their excited smiles and infectious energy are great medicine.

    4) Enjoy the day with some friends.

    You might not be a huge Halloween enthusiast—but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it as an excuse to get some buddies together. Invite some friends or coworkers over for a simple dinner or movie marathon; socializing is good for your mental health, as people who are more socially connected are generally healthier and live longer lives. So, use this holiday to your benefit and make a memory you’ll reflect on for years to come

    5) Dress up and hang with your pup.

    If you are a pet owner who gets a kick out of a dachshund in a hot dog costume, then get Fido dressed and take him for a walk. Pets are great at soothing our emotions and even treating depression, by simply being there for us to pet or play with. They also create healthy opportunities for us to interact with others.

    6) Go where the people go.

    Even if there isn’t anyone specific you’re dying to make plans with, that doesn’t mean you have to spend the holiday alone if you don’t want to. Simply go where the people go and see where the night takes you! Malls, parks, and other public places often attract interesting and surely entertaining Halloween activity. And remember—socializing is great for your health.

    7) Put your safety first.

    This isn’t the night for making totally spontaneous or irrational decisions. Yes, try new things, but never put yourself in compromising or potentially dangerous situations. Have fun, but leave no room for regrets!

Don’t just hope that you’ll have a great Halloween this year, put in some effort to ensure that you do—whether that means making plans with friends, spending some quality time with your pup, or dressing up in a fun costume and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. Make a plan and commit to it; no dropping out at the last minute. But also don’t be disappointed if things take an unpredicted turn—that often makes for the best experiences and the best stories. Happy Halloween, everybody!

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