Hallowe’en Migraine Horror

By 12 October 2022MAI News

Hallowe’en MMXXII – No not the movie!

When we think of the real horror of Hallowe’en, we think of everything from  ‘Michael Myers’ or ‘Ghost Face’ pumpkins and bobbing apples to vampires and ghosts! Our little loved ones get dressed up in all sorts of adorable and not so adorable costumes to scare the living daylights out of everyone they come across!

For many people it is a case of buying sweets to give to the little creatures that ring their doorbells on the night, or getting the dog walked and back inside before the fireworks, bonfires and bangers begin. Then its time to huddle up in front of the telly to watch the soaps or to dare to watch that scary movie they swore they would never watch.

For a few people however, the true horror of Hallowe’en has nothing to do with the ghosts or scary movies. They live with a horror that rears its ugly head whenever it wants to. It’s not restricted to one night a year and can be made worse by all the fun of Hallowe’en.

Migraine Trigger Ghouls that not only come out at Hallowe’en but create the need for extra TLC during this period

Migraine occurs in 12 – 15% of the population, which works out at over 600,000 people in Ireland alone. It can be triggered by many things, including chocolate, red wine, and nuts. Those who live with migraine can be sensitive to bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells, so Hallowe’en is a night to be wary of.

While some people may be sensitive to specific triggers, others can be vulnerable to attack or worsening of symptoms when several factors combine, taking them over their migraine threshold into their own private house of horrors!

Hallowe’en Tips

Therefore,  to help you get through Hallowe’en, and indeed some other occasions of attack, here are a few tips;

  • Maintain a regular sleep pattern as much as possible.
  • Practice relaxation techniques to rid the body of tension and stress.
  • Make sure your medication is at hand.
  • Stay hydrated – keep water nearby.
  • Try to limit your intake of the following – cheese, alcohol, caffeine, citrus fruits, some nuts, sweets, chocolate, etc.
  • Watch for triggers that are outside of your control such as:
    • Strobe or flickering lights – Police, Ambulance and Fire Engine lights/loud noises as well as flickering glares from bonfires, flashes from fireworks, projected lights on windows, etc.
    • Fog machines.
    • Loud noises like explosions from bangers and fireworks.
    • Strong smells and smoke from bonfires, especially unofficial ones as you cannot guarantee that what is being burned is safe to be burned, and some items give off toxic fumes when on fire.

With these tips and a little self-care, you can get through Hallowe’en without an attack or worsening of migraine symptoms. See here for more tips

Remember Food is not always a migraine trigger

Many of the foods listed are regarded as typical migraine triggers, but they may not be triggers for you. In fact, food may not be a trigger for you at all. Undoubtedly some migraineurs can identify that a certain food triggers their migraine, however, for other people, it may be a symptom of the migraine and not an actual trigger.

Some experts think that when you enter that first stage of the migraine, known as the prodrome phase, your brain begins to crave things like serotonin, which is contained in chocolate, and that’s why you reach for the giant bar of glass and a half goodness. You get to the fridge, take out a bar and eat it. Sometime later, your pain phase may begin, and you identify that pain with eating the chocolate, hence blaming the poor innocent chocolate bar as the trigger, and depriving yourself of one of life’s simple pleasures!

You might discover some nice migraine-friendly Autumnal dishes at The Dizzy Cook Blog 

Oíche Shamhna Shona Dhaoibh go Léir!!   Joyeuse fête d’Hallowe’en    


The information contained in this article is for information only and not intended to replace medical advice or diagnosis.