Celebrating a Sober Halloween

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Celebrating a Sober Halloween

In childhood, Halloween is often considered to be a harmless holiday associated with finding the perfect costume and accumulating as much candy as possible while trick-or-treating. While in adulthood, however, this holiday can have different associations that might include parties involving drinking or drug use. This holiday can be difficult if you are in recovery from substance use disorders. Being new to the recovery journey may cause you to fear potential triggers when attempting to celebrate Halloween. Maybe you only prefer to stay home instead of going out of your way to celebrate. The truth is that it is possible for you to experience real enjoyment from this holiday without challenging your sobriety.

Understanding Why Halloween Can Be Difficult for Those in Recovery

If you have a history of substance use disorder, you may recall past Halloweens when you attended parties surrounded by drugs and alcohol. During your very first Halloween in recovery, you may feel concerned that you will be left out of social gatherings by old friends. You may also fear that if you do attend, your sobriety could be put in jeopardy. Halloween is also a holiday associated with many memories. Perhaps you are mourning the loss of a loved one who you used to spend each Halloween with. This sense of loneliness and grief can cause you to feel tempted to engage in substance use again for comfort.

The key to getting through Halloween sober is to surround yourself with people who support you and your recovery journey. These are people who can lift you up when you are feeling down and take your mind off of the complex emotions you may be struggling with. You can also consider speaking with your therapist ahead of the holiday or attending an extra support group meeting.

Ideas for Celebrating a Sober Halloween

Just because you will not be engaging in substance use this Halloween does not mean that you cannot still enjoy yourself and have a great time. Consider some of the following ideas for celebrating Halloween while sober:

#1. Host Your Own Halloween Party

Consider hosting your own Halloween party. When you are the one hosting, you will be in an environment you are comfortable in, and you will not have to worry about exposure to drugs or alcohol. In this case, always make it clear to your guests that this gathering will be a substance-free event.

#2. Enjoy Halloween With the Children in Your Life

Whether you have children of your own, nieces, nephews, or even a friend with a child, celebrating festivities with children can often magnify your appreciation for the little joys of the holiday. You also will not have to worry about being exposed to any drugs or alcohol. Consider carving pumpkins with them, doing a Halloween-related craft, or joining them for trick-or-treating.

#3. Enjoy a Scary Movie Night With a Friend

Grab your popcorn and some candy to experience a cozy night indoors with your friend while watching your favorite Halloween film.

#4. Consider Taking a Historic Ghost Tour

Many cities offer spooky tours around town that discuss folklore, the history of the community, and tales of ghost sightings.

#5. Bake Halloween-Themed Cookies With a Friend

You and your friend can either buy a kit from the store to make the process quick and easy or you can make your cookies entirely from scratch. If you can gather enough people, you can turn the experience into a contest to see whose cookies turn out the best.

#6. Have a Pumpkin Decorating Contest 

Not only can this be a fun opportunity to bond with friends, family, and neighbors, but this can also give you a chance to express your creativity while taking your mind off of any negativity or temptation.

#7. Try Out a Halloween-Themed Mocktail

There are plenty of recipes online for fun, delicious, and alcohol-free spooky beverages. Enjoy one at home or take it with you if you will be attending a Halloween party. This way you can still have something to sip on throughout the night if there are no alcohol-free beverages available.

Remember to Take Care of Yourself

Holidays can be difficult while in recovery. If this is your situation, make sure to take care of yourself this Halloween. Always ensure that you are eating regular well-balanced meals, getting plenty of sleep, and fitting in an exercise routine. You will also want to be sure to practice self-care. Some self-care ideas include:

  • Taking a break from social media 
  • Practicing some form of meditation 
  • Reading a chapter of a book
  • Spending some time in nature 
  • Having a conversation with a trusted friend
  • Taking a walk 

Some people view Halloween as an opportunity to party and engage in heavy substance use. For those in recovery, this is not an option. In fact, this holiday can be difficult for those in recovery, especially if they are mourning the loss of someone they used to spend this holiday with. Through planning and with the support of good friends, it is possible to enjoy this holiday while remaining sober. Some fun ways to celebrate Halloween while sober include hosting your own Halloween party, decorating cookies, watching scary movies, having a pumpkin carving contest, or taking a historic ghost tour. Remember to take care of your mental and physical health, and don’t be afraid to reach out to your therapist if necessary. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, our team at The Kimberly Center can help. Call (855) 452-3683 to learn more. 

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