Attending Halloween parties can feel daunting if you just went through a breakup and you're having difficulty just getting from point A to point B. If you find yourself getting stressed about Halloween, here are some strategies to make your evening a little bit less stressful:
1. Leave your expectations at home
There are a lot of hidden expectations and worries that go into parties, like the expectation that everyone is going to wonder why you're not with your ex. Or the expectation that this is one of your first nights out and it has to be the most fun night EVER. Or the expectation that you might meet someone new.
Whether your expectations are positive or negative, write them all down before you go out, take a deep breath and tell yourself that you're leaving them on the paper. Walk into the party with a smile on your face and a genuine curiosity to get to know people there, regardless of whether they are interesting romantically. Avoid sizing everyone up and comparing them to your ex. Oh, my ex would have looked better as Elmo. The key on Halloween is to underpromise and overdeliver.
2. Don't go looking for your ex
Any holiday can be stressful when you and your ex have mutual friends. If you know your ex is going to be at a particular bar, club or house party, DO NOT GO THERE. There are plenty of other places to go and things to do on Halloween. This will eliminate the need to make awkward small talk, pretend you didn't see each other at all or spend the whole night trying to make your ex jealous (which won't make you feel better for longer than a few seconds).
If you absolutely can't think of anything to do, stay home with some friends and watch Hocus Pocus or a scary movie. We can guarantee it'll be less terrifying than seeing your ex dressed up as one half of a couple's costume.
3. Go easy on the vampire punch
Alcohol is a very effective depressant, which means that it can make you feel worse if you are already feeling sad. The next day can be particularly painful if you're already feeling low.
So while the plentiful creepy cocktails and ghoulish drink specials this season are attractive if you're feeling sad, anxious or bored, drinking one too many drinks may send you over the edge. Commit to cutting yourself off at x drinks (you know what x is - if you're not sure, ask your best friend), and ask a trustworthy friend to keep you in check if you're worried.
4. Unplug for the night
If you do end up having too many jello shots, make sure to call someone for a ride home. Don't use alcohol as an excuse to text your ex because 9 out of 10 times, the results of Halloween drexting aren't pretty.
We know it's easy to check up on your ex's Snapchat/Instagram/Twitter to see what they're up to tonight and that can be a total bummer on your Halloween plans, so appoint a friend to hold onto your phone if you know you can't exercise self-control. You'll thank your sober self later.
5. Plan your exit strategy
Plan how you're going to get home before you even step out of the house, whether you're going to request an Uber or a Lyft or a friend to drive by in their SUV and pick you up middle school style. And then, as soon as you feel like you're about to turn into a pumpkin, tell your friends, thank the hosts and get on your way.
Don't leave your exit strategy in the hands of anyone else but you. Even though your bud may love you, they may love the dracula on the patio a bit more 3 drinks in.
Most important, remember that tonight is not an endurance test to see how long you can hold it together until you fall apart. You are not being graded on how good you look or how well-adjusted you seem.
So leave out a tea bag and chocolate (or your favorite candy) in your kitchen for when you return, and maybe even turn down your bed. Queue an episode of something you like to watch as soon as you get home. Be kind to yourself. You made it through Halloween solo!