Though an IC diagnosis may seem like a horror story that will keep you from having fun ever again, it isn’t. You can still have fun and celebrate. You are more than your bladder! And that’s true even for a holiday that often revolves around chocolate candy. Halloween with IC doesn’t have to be horrific. From food to activities to costumes, we have some spooktacular ideas for you!
Let’s start with something IC patients often stress about at Halloween: candy. Figuring out what sweet treats won’t turn your bladder into a screaming banshee might take just a bit of planning, but it’s possible! If you are trying something new, be sure to try it in small quantities first. Also remember that you might be able to tolerate a small amount of something, but larger quantities would be bothersome. Halloween season can actually be a good time to give some confections a try since so many treats are available in small portions. Just proceed with caution!
- Chocolate: Milk and bittersweet chocolate are in the foods to avoid category of the IC diet, but white chocolate is worth trying as is high quality dark chocolate. A great chocolate alternative is carob. Carob is a legume that feels and tastes like chocolate. Give mint carob cups a try! Mainstream candy makers have quite a few white chocolate options available that you can try with caution.
- Chewy candy: Chewy candy takes longer to eat, so you can eat less while feeling like you had more! Caramel is usually bladder friendly and can be a great Halloween sweet. Look for plain caramel candy cubes or make your own soft caramel candy. Licorice is worth a try as well. Sour candy and red hot-type cinnamon candy are usually bothersome.
- Hard candy: Hard candy may not be as popular at Halloween time, but maybe this is the year it makes a comeback — at least at your house! Butterscotch and mint are IC friendly. Grab some hard candy treats and enjoy the sweet taste .
- DIY treats: Divinity is an IC friendly sweet you can easily make yourself. Divinity usually includes some kind of nuts. Pecans are popular and are in the “foods worth trying” category. Almonds, cashews and peanuts are all usually IC friendly and could be good alternatives as well. Try this recipe from Betty Crocker.
You can find lots of fun Halloween-themed snack recipes online. Some take the skill of a professional decorator, but many are easy enough for the rest of us. Even better, a lot of them are IC friendly and just waiting for you to make them and have a spell-binding Halloween!
- Sweet, festive popcorn: This is a throwback recipe from yesteryear, but sweet, festive popcorn is easy to make and yummy to snack on. Even better, you can make it ahead of time. Pop some popcorn (homemade is the most IC friendly, but “all natural” microwave popcorn without added flavors, preservatives or colors is usually IC friendly). Spread it out on parchment paper. Melt some vanilla candy melts in the microwave and then pour the candy melts over the popcorn. Easy and delicious!
- Jack-o-lantern ham and cheese: Made with a pie crust, ham and cheddar or Swiss cheese, these jack-o-lantern sandwiches are yummy and adorable! Ham is in the “worth trying” category. Go for lunchmeat that is filler, gluten and color free for it to be most IC friendly. Cheddar cheese is usually IC friendly while Swiss cheese is in the “worth trying” category.
- Crescent mummy dogs: A twist on pigs in a blanket, crescent mummy dogs are cute and easy to pull off for a Halloween snack or even dinner. Uncured and preservative free hot dogs are usually bladder friendly. Mildly seasoned hot dogs are in the “foods worth trying” category.
- Caramel apples: It doesn’t get much more autumnal than caramel apples! Caramel is IC friendly and mild apples like gala, Fuji and pink lady are, too. You can easily make your own caramel apples at home to be sure everything is IC friendly. If you like your caramel apples coated in nuts, use peanuts, which are also IC friendly!
- Spider peanut butter sandwiches: This is probably the very easiest option on the list. All you do is make a peanut sandwich with your favorite peanut butter and bread. Cut it into a circle (you can use a glass to do so if you don’t have a biscuit cutter) and then put four pretzel sticks on each side. And that’s all there is to these spider peanut butter sandwiches! Organic, natural peanut butters and most bread are IC friendly.
With or without trick-or-treating, Halloween can be a fun evening for all ages. You can do various activities based on what you like, your family, the weather and how you’re feeling.
Trick-or-treating and Alternatives
If you have young kids you’re celebrating with, trick-or-treating is probably one of their favorite activities for Halloween. But what if trick-or-treating isn’t safe (you know, due to a global pandemic) or what if you’re in the middle of a horrible flare? You can alter trick-or-treating a bit and still have a fun Halloween for the kiddos.
- Stay in the car: If you’re kids are older, consider driving them to where they want to trick-or-treat and stay in the car. You can be within a couple houses of them and move as they do to keep an eye out.
- Trunk or treating: Participate in a community or organization’s trunk-or-treating. These usually take place in a parking lot or other designated area and don’t require nearly as much walking.
- Visit only friends and family: Hit up only the homes of your friends and family. Drive your family from place to place and avoid having to walk for long periods or coming into contact with more germs.
- Plan a monster egg hunt: Pull out your plastic Easter eggs and decorate them with Halloween stickers or a Sharpie or both. Fill them with candy and hide them around your house for your kids to find so that you don’t have to even leave the house. (I did this last year for my children because of COVID, and they both had a blast!)
- Trick or treat at home: If you have family or friends who are coming over, station adults in various rooms of your house with the door closed. Let the kids go to each room, knock and trick-or-treat like that.
- Ask for help. If you just don’t feel well and need help making Halloween a success for your kiddos, ask for help. If they are going trick-or-treating and you just aren’t up to it, ask your spouse or a trusted friend to take them instead. Request photos.
Even if you aren’t the best at crafts (like me!), you can still find some fun Halloween-themed crafts to do with your friends and family. Trust me, if I can do these crafts, anyone can!
- Monster bags: With paper lunch sacks and basic craft supplies, you can make monster bags to put your treats in. Decorate a lunch sack to look like a monster when it is sitting upright and opened. You can use markers, crayons, stickers, construction paper, paint or whatever you have on hand. This works for all ages and can be as elaborate or as simple as you want.
- Paper pumpkins: If you have small children participating, this is an especially great craft. Cut pumpkin shapes out of orange construction paper. Then turn your little ones loose to decorate them with crayons, markers or construction paper and glue sticks.
- Color: Coloring is fun for all ages. Print out some Halloween coloring sheets and color together. Have fun with it! Those who are more artistic can make their coloring pages more detailed. Those not so artistic (raising my hand!) can color as simply as they like.
- Paper ghosts: All you need is some white paper and markers or crayons to make paper ghosts. They are super simple. Cut out ghost shapes and then decorate them. My family tends to get creative in back stories. So when we do this, each ghost has a back story of who they are and how they died. While we tend to make them cute, you can certainly make them as spooky as you want to.
- Carve pumpkins: Jack-o-lanterns veritably scream Halloween. Have a pumpkin carving contest or just carve them for fun. If you don’t like getting messy or want to deal with cleaning out a pumpkin, buy foam pumpkins that are made to carve.
Game it up
Games can be so much fun and fill up an evening for all ages. There are lots of Halloween-related games you can play — many of which don’t even need you to buy anything!
- Halloween Bingo: While you can certainly buy a Halloween Bingo game, there are lots of free options to print out online. Use candy corn, marshmallows or whatever you have on hand for markers.
- Charades: Great for all ages, charades are a lot of fun. You can come up with your own ideas or you can work with some Halloween themed ideas. Everyone can come up with their own or you can print out a free Halloween charades game to get you started.
- Halloween Would You Rather: Would You Rather is pretty fun for almost all ages any time. You ask questions about if someone would rather one thing or the other — and they are usually difficult choices. Like “Would you rather go to work without clothes on” or “Would you rather dance a jig in front of your coworkers?” Check out this free Halloween Would You Rather you can print yourself.
- Plan a murder mystery: If you have a group of older kids and/or adults, murder mysteries can be lots of fun. You can purchase them or find some murder mystery games free online to give a try.
- Play board games: You don’t have to only play Halloween themed games. Play any board or card game you enjoy. The point is to have fun hanging out with others (even if it’s only those you live with!). So, feel free to pull out games you enjoy all year long.
Watching movies is another great way to spend Halloween. You can have your yummy treats. a comfy seat, your heating pad or ice pack and keep yourself entertained through the screen. Pick out scary movies or go for less scary movies (more my style!) that are still festive like “Nightmare Before Christmas” or “Hocus Pocus.”
What is Halloween without dressing up? Of course you can find lots and lots of Halloween costume ideas, but just for fun, here are some spooky IC-related Halloween costumes for your entertainment.
- Crazy researcher: A lab coat maybe and some urine cups along with a crazed look in your eyes could make this horrifying costume come to life.
- Cranberry juice: Use an old shirt and cover it with the logo and name of a well known cranberry juice. (Gah! Personally, I find this costume the most grotesque after all the cranberry juice I was forced to drink as a kid!)
- Health insurance: Turn yourself into a health insurance card or representative by altering a shirt accordingly or wearing a sign around you neck. Be ready to say no to pretty much everything anyone asks you!
- Pill bottle: Dress in light orange with a white shirt that you have written a prescription label on. To make it extra scary, add “0 refills.”
- Heating pad: Dress in soft flannel and have a cord hanging off of you. If you want to go for a particularly terrifying costume, make a control panel for the cord that says “error.” Broken heating pads are petrifying to some of us!
- Broken streaming service: Pick your favorite streaming service and dress in a shirt with the name on it that says the service isn’t working. Or be Wifi that doesn’t work. Either option is frightful when you’re in a flare!
- Empty toilet paper roll: You can be one big roll dressing all in brown or you can stick empty toilet paper rolls all over your shirt and/or pants. Yikes!
- Trigger food: This one is up to you. You could dress as a tomato, chocolate bar, vinegar, coffee or whatever most bothers your bladder. I’d go for an orange.
- Bad advice: Use card stock or index cards to write some of the worst advice you’ve gotten to “help” your IC. Attach them to a shirt and there you go!
- No public bathroom sign: Write the sign on your shirt or wear it around your neck. Be clear that no public bathrooms are available. Try to refrain from screeching in horror when you look at yourself in the mirror!