In Defense of Those Who ‘Go Dark’ on Halloween




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Black and white photograph of street in the United States, with lights illuminating parts of it. Taken at night.

Every year on Halloween, trick-or-treaters walk by “those” houses. The ones with all the lights off, save for maybe one. There are no decorations. No bowl of candy with a sign inviting kids to “please take one.” Everyone in the neighborhood can tell there’s someone home who doesn’t want to answer the door.

“What gives?” people might ask. “It’s Halloween. Couldn’t you just give the kids some candy? It’s not that hard. What a Scrooge.”

What they don’t know is that for you, that person who has decided to buck tradition and “go dark,” that choice is about a whole lot more than “those darn kids!”

Maybe you have a disability that makes it difficult to get up and answer the door every few minutes.

Maybe you’re struggling with PTSD, and the sound of the doorbell sends your adrenaline soaring.

Maybe your child has sensory challenges, and she’s happier having a quiet night in watching her favorite movie.

Maybe you live with anxiety, and the thought of making small talk with the strangers fills you with dread.

Maybe you’re a childhood abuse survivor, and skipping Halloween is better for your mental health.

Maybe you’re having a flare and…