Spooky season is at its peak this week– it’s Halloween! This is the one night of the year when everyone seems to bring out their weirdest, wildest selves. It’s also one of the most hyped nights of the year for adult partying: drug and alcohol use is celebrated into the shadows of every costume party. But can you still enjoy this holiday while staying sober? There are a lot of us in addiction treatment who dread this day 1) because it brings up some not-so-pleasant memories and 2) it’s obnoxiously creepy to think about all the things we might be “missing out” on now that we don’t drink. However, it’s still normal to have a sober Halloween… you just need to spend time choosing your plans and recognize where to spend the night of October 31st!
How to Have A Sober Halloween
Obviously, some people absolutely hate Halloween especially after getting sober. That’s fine! If this is you, then it’s just another normal day, except a majority of your friends and family will be asking you, “are you doing anything for Halloween??” and you can simply respond, “Nope! I don’t enjoy it.”
For others, Halloween has always been a huge thing for them. The costumes, the social aspect of the night, candy, horror, spooky vibes– the whole jack-o-lantern. If this is you, I bet you want to keep things exciting! And rightfully so. Here are several ways you can have a sober Halloween to remember for years to come (and, more importantly, to even remember the next day!)
Hold a Scary Movie Marathon
This one is obvious. Every channel, including Netflix, Hulu, or HBO will be streaming all the Halloween favorites from the ‘80s til now. If you’re a movie lover, grab a friend and binge-watch some scary shows.
A few classic Halloween movies to remember:
Young Frankenstein (1974)
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Corpse Bride (2005)
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
And so many more movies to list! Don’t forget your cauldron full of candy.
Attend Sober Events
Yes, sober events exist on All Hallow’s Eve. Things like Trunk or Treat, charity events, church groups, 5K marathons, pumpkin carving contests, art shows, and even fright-themed museums hold events on this special night of the year. Obviously, other more common events are right around the corner from you, such as hay-rides, fright fests, and (of course) haunted houses!
Get Spooked at a Haunted House
If you’re looking for something to get your adrenaline rush going, head to a haunted house. Some are free. Some cost money. Some might be lame. Some might make you pee your pants! Find one near you and grab a nearby victim– err friend or relative– and get your scream on.
Go to a Support Group or 12-Step Meeting
Stop right there, I know you might be rolling your eyes– AA on Halloween?
Support groups can be the safest and most supportive space to go on a night when more likely than not our inner demons come out to haunt us. It’s all good– get your butt to a meeting if you feel it’s necessary. Heck, go to one even if you don’t feel like it! The feels of the entire night can be strange– everyone acts like the monsters are really lurking, and you don’t want to be alone in any negative thoughts.
Flaunt Your Decoration Skills
If you’re someone getting really into the hollow-day spirit, you’ve probably been decorating since the first week of October, am I right? Partake in your community’s decoration contest. This is great because your love for the spooky season can be admired and appreciated by neighbors, friends, and strangers, and you’ll feel accomplished for sure. Don’t spoil your winning prize all in one place, though!
Host A Halloween Party for Families
Families love parties! Believe it or not, quite a lot of people don’t have anything to do on Halloween. It’s a time where some of us can start to feel lonely, especially in recovery, as the year approaches more holiday gatherings. If you still want to party but are committed to staying sober for life, you can still host (or attend) a party. Make it a family fun party, or invite all your sober buddies. Just make sure the party’s full of fun treats and virgin slushies, not booze or any other *ahem* types of candy.
Chill at Home
Remember, there’s always next year… You don’t have to do anything on Halloween in particular, even if you’re a big fan of it. If plans fall through, or you can’t think of anywhere to go without facing the potential temptation of some type of substance, just stay at home. Nobody will mind if you keep to yourself. Have a nice dinner, relax, cast a spell (if you’re into that sort of thing?), and maybe head to bed early to avoid those late noises in the night.
Chaperone the Trick or Treat Tots
If you have kids (or young siblings or cousins or nieces or nephews in your life), offer to help them trick or treating! This means you can dress up if you want, and you get to be surrounded by some little light-hearted (or straight-up terrifying, hyperactive monster) children. You’ll be keeping the younger crowd safe while staying safe from outside influences, yourself.
Bake Something Cute (or Creepy)
Put your culinary Pinterest board to the test and whip up some fun, crafty recipes. You can DIY it from scratch if you love that sort of thing, or simply grab a tube of those cut-and-bake sugar cookies and call it an evening. Nobody’s judging you! Keep yourself or your loved ones occupied and make it a baking party. Don’t leave out the orange, purple, or black sprinkles. And put some of that bloody syrup that looks frighteningly real on top of your eyeball cupcakes. Yum.
So, what are you doing for Halloween? Can you share any of your sober Halloween activities we forgot to list in this article? We’d love to know.
Whatever you decide to do, remember to have a great time and most importantly, stay safe. Happy Halloween from the Opus Health team!