Epilepsy and Halloween – Tips to Stay Safe

As the air gets colder, we are reminded that Halloween is quickly approaching. This holiday, which originated from All Hallows Eve, the last day of the Celtic calendar, and a Pagan holiday to honour the dead, now acts as a celebration of the season and a day when children and adults alike can embrace the creativity of dressing up and attend themed parties.

However, potential frights, flashing lights, and excessive candy can be potentially triggering for individuals who have epilepsy. With both excitement and stress in play, taking action to ensure a calm atmosphere and stable routine is essential to prevent overexcitement and lack of sleep leading to seizures.

Follow our below tips for having a safe and healthy Halloween this year:

Be COVID-19 Aware:

Some Halloween traditions may look a little bit different this year to keep everyone safe during the ongoing COV​ID-19 pandemic. However, there are still plenty of ways to have fun while avoiding the worry of being exposed to or spreading COVID-19.

If you will be trick-or-treating, it is recommended that you stay in your own local neighborhood and try incorporating a medical mask or face covering as part of your costume. Also, be sure to wash your hands before and after trick-or-treating and before eating any treats!

If you don’t feel safe trick-or-treating, a great idea is to still dress up in costumes and decorate your house but stay in as a family, eat yummy treats and watch Halloween movies together.

Most importantly, please continue to follow COVID-19 protocols, including avoiding large gatherings or large groups, staying within your COVID bubble, keeping a distance of at least 2 meters away from others not in your bubble at all times, wearing a medical mask or face covering, and practicing good hand hygiene by washing your hands often and using hand sanitizer whenever necessary.

Avoid Deterring Too Much From Your Regular Routine:

Sticking to a regular bedtime, avoiding excessive sugar intake and taking Anti-Epileptic Drugs on time and at the correct dosage as prescribed can be easy ways to make sure that you remain safe.

Ensuring that you or your child get enough sleep can be an important step taken as lack of sleep can be a trigger for seizures.

It is also vital to ensure that you or your child continue taking your medications as normal as missing a dose of medication can be a trigger for seizures.

Be Aware of Triggers:

It is important to try to avoid known triggers for your seizures. Seizure triggers range from person to person and can include:

  • Missed Medication
  • Lack of Sleep
  • Flashing Lights (Only in about 3-5% of people living with epilepsy)
  • Stress
  • Illness or Fever
  • Hormonal Changes
  • Drug Interactions
  • Alcohol and/or Drug Use
  • Hyperventilation, Dehydration and Overheating
  • Low Blood Sugar Levels

Create New Traditions:

Keep in mind that Halloween doesn’t have to be based solely around trick or treating and eating mountains of sweets and chocolates. If you or your child are on a dietary therapy such as the Ketogenic Diet, you may not be able to partake in trick-or-treating and eating candy. You can try to make your own traditions instead.

One way to make a new tradition is to still go trick-or-treating but allow your child to “trade” their candy with you for a keto-friendly treat or a non-food item such as a toy or a game. You can also talk to neighbours to let them know about the restriction and provide them with an alternative item to give to your child so that they don’t feel left out while trick-or-treating.

Another way to make a new tradition is to forgo trick-or-treating entirely and hold your own Halloween party. This way, you can make your own themed treats and be able to control what food is consumed by using fruit and vegetables or keto-friendly recipes.

Please note that if you will be hosting or attending a Halloween party this year, it is important for you to stay within your COVID bubble. On October 26thProvincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry restricted indoor gatherings to no more than immediate household members and six other people. Please click here for more information on this.

We hope that everyone has a fun and enjoyable Halloween this year!

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