Halloween and Bipolar Disorder


Remember Halloween when you were little? It was a big deal, wasn’t it? Dressing up…

Going door to door… Getting all that candy… Going home and sorting through it all…

Eating all the best stuff first… Putting up the rest for later… Then eating pumpkin pie and pumpkin seeds…

But then the holiday was over and you put up your costume and candy and everything went back to normal again.

It’s the same way that holidays affect bipolar disorder today. You have to watch out for stressors

in your loved one, because they affect their disorder, and holidays can be a big stressor, even holidays like Halloween

Have you been in the stores lately? First we had a big push for back to school sales. We were barely over that, and then they started putting out all their sale items for Halloween. Everywhere you look there are costumes and other things for Halloween. And it can be enough to start stressing out your loved one for the holiday.

No, Halloween is not as big a holiday as some others, but it can still be enough of one to be a stressor to your loved one. There are still parties and gatherings to go to, and children that come trick- or-treating at your door. There are still events that are associated with the holiday.

And, like I said, the stores are filled with reminders of the holiday everywhere you look. There’s no getting around it.

So you have to be aware that, if your loved one is one of those people with bipolar disorder who is stressed out by holidays, that Halloween is right around the corner, and they might be starting to get stressed out by it now.

What that means is that you may see more mood swings in them than usual. They may, because of the increased stress, start to be more irritable and agitated, which means they may get angrier easier.

You need to watch them for this symptom, because increased agitation and anger/rage at its extreme can be a sign of an oncoming bipolar manic episode.

Increased stress over the holiday may also cause them to get more depressed than usual. Watch them for this symptom as well, as this can lead to a bipolar depressive episode.

Just a reminder –

Increased agitation and a “bad day” in and of themselves do not make up a bipolar episode. But you need to watch these symptoms, especially when they are combined with other bipolar symptoms, because it is when they are prolonged for days and weeks, and are combined with other bipolar symptoms, that they become bipolar episodes.

Because of this time of year, you need to be more aware of your loved one’s potential for bipolar episodes, just in case. That means that you need to be ready to be more understanding and supportive than usual. Be ready for them to exhibit more bipolar symptoms due to increased stress.

The more prepared you are, the more able you will be to keep them from going into a full-fledged bipolar episode.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,


  1. In our experience, it has been the overload of sugar that is the stressor, over Halloween. Sugar and caffeine are big ones.

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