Ah, Halloween! A joyful “holiday” wherein we pay ridiculous amounts of money to purchase candy to hand out to innocent children and try our best to be someone else (sluttier, scarrier, funnier, etc.) for a night. And for a lot of us adults, Halloween means a party or a few.
But Halloween, as fun as this candy-infused night is, can be an all-night challenge for those of us with hearing loss and/or hearing aids. Kids voices are high-pitched and difficult to understand when they’re not hopped up on Kit-Kat bars. Halloween’s sugar infusion makes their already hard-to-understand voices 10x worse. Costumes often hide people’s faces, or at least their mouths are obscured, so reading lips is at the least difficult, if not all together out of the question. If you’re out a party for the night, combine creative costume challenges with loud music and overlapping voices. Not. Easy. At. All.
So, with my lovely college years behind me and three “adult” Halloween nights under my belt, here amy tips for doing Halloween like a boss when you’ve got hearing loss and/or hearing aids.
- Plan your night in advance! When you have a solid plan for where you’re going, you can plan ahead for how to work around any obvious challenges like thumping music or dark lighting.
- Use the buddy system! As a young woman, I rarely go out alone. Ever. Why? Because in today’s society doing so is just plain stupid. Safety first, just like in Pre-K right? Yep. Throw it back to your 3-year-old self and use the “buddy system” on Halloween. Having a buddy who understands your hearing loss can really help. They can help you interpret conversations with masked strangers, and you can help keep them safe from goblins who might drop drugs in their drinks. Win-win.
- Makeup first. Hairspray second. Hearing aids LAST! Never, ever, ever put your hearing aids while you are still in the transformation between your human self and your Halloween self. I don’t care if you’re a pretty, pretty princess or a ghastly ghost. Always do your makeup FIRST, hairspray SECOND and hearing aids LAST. Those little devices are precious and deserve the same attentive and loving treatment Gollum gives to the Ring in Lord of the Rings. Again…Precious. Makeup and hairspray will only damage or ruin them.
- Charge your phone before you go. I never leave the house on Halloween without my phone at 100%. One reason is because I control my hearing aids with a mobile app, but moreover, my phone also helps me in darkly lit areas. When it’s too dark to read lips, and just way too loud to hear anything well at all, I will use my phone to text with friends (even if they’re a foot away). This allows me to understand what’s going on, feel part of the group and not miss anything important.
- Just smile and [hand out candy] While I normally get in trouble with my boyfriend for using the “smile and nod” technique when I don’t hear or understand something and don’t want him to know; kids on Halloween are a totally different situation. On Halloween kids want three things: (1) candy, (2) their costume “ooh-ed” and “awe-d” over, and (3) more candy. When kids come to my door, I follow this easy three-step process: (1) say “Happy Halloween!” in my sweetest, most cheerleader-like voice; (2) toss out a generically all-inclusive costume compliment (OMG you all look so amazing! Such great costumes!); and (3) dump handfuls of candy into outstretched buckets. Boom. Easy.
Well, I’m sure you all have more tips for handling Halloween, so feel free to share this post using the share buttons below and then add your own tips in the comment section.