“Boo’s Over Booze:” How to Plan a Sober Halloween

Halloween is known for costumes, candy, and spooky decorations. But tricks aren’t just for kids. October 31st is a popular party night for adults too. However, if you are in addiction recovery or just prefer a night without alcohol you may be wondering how to celebrate. Here are some tips to treat yourself to a sober Halloween.

Connect with the Sober Community

Make a point to minimize your exposure to alcohol and drugs but still allow yourself to hang out with people who are into dressing up and having a good time, and talk to people in your sober community. Raise your hand at your 12-Step meetings, and talk to your support groups. You never know who may be planning a sober event – either publicly held for the community or privately.

Throw Your Own Sober Celebration

If you cannot locate a sober Halloween party (or one you want to attend), why not throw one of your own? You can choose any theme, hold it at home or at another location, and set your own parameters for the event. Just remember to:

  • Make it clear to invitees that it is a sober event (note it on invitations and remind people in person as well)
  • Provide things to do: games, movies, a costume contest, or pumpkin carving – anything that sounds like fun.
  • Offer snacks and nonalcoholic beverages and/or ask guests to bring some for the group.

Create a New Tradition

If you like Halloween but are not interested in seeking out a party, much less going to the effort of throwing one yourself, come up with some new traditions for the day. Some ideas may include:

  • Going to a Halloween-themed 5K or half marathon.
  • Watching a favorite Halloween movie or a new one you haven’t seen.
  • Making a huge Halloween-themed feast at home with friends.
  • Passing out candy to neighborhood kids or holding a haunted house.
  • Volunteering at a community center or Halloween carnival.

Take a Road Trip

Not sure if you can deal with staying in town for Halloween? Hit the road and head out of town into the wilderness where there is no sign of the holiday. It may be perfect weather for a last big camping trip before winter temperatures kick in, and you can be sure to minimize, if not eliminate, the risk of running into partiers in costume.

Keep It Simple

Remember, you do not have to take part in any and every holiday that comes up during the year, especially if it is a threat to your recovery. If it makes it easier, simply don’t celebrate Halloween this year. Stay home and watch a rom-com or an action-adventure flick. Reorganize your closet or do whatever you want to stay sober.

Thinking of Drinking?

If holidays like Halloween trigger your cravings for drugs or alcohol, you are not alone. Not only is Halloween a party holiday, but it also jumpstarts the whole holiday season that culminates in the biggest party day of the year, New Year’s Eve. For many, this is a tough time emotionally, and tough emotional times often lead to an urge to escape difficult feelings by drinking and using drugs.

If you are feeling uncomfortable in sobriety, do not ignore the problem, especially if it is related to the holiday season as a whole. Halloween is just the beginning, and it’s a good idea to connect with your support resources in order to come up with a plan.

Here are some tips to avoid relapse:

  • Talk to your sponsor. Get specific about what you are feeling, and what you are facing in terms of specific events that may be worrisome, and ask for help. Get some ideas about how to manage upcoming issues.
  • Have a plan and a backup plan. If you need someone to lean on, do not have just one person in mind. People get busy, they don’t hear their phone, or they are otherwise distracted in your moment of need even if they have the best of intentions of supporting you. Have a couple of people you can call.
  • Set yourself up for success. If you know that being out in a crowd is going to make you feel uncomfortable, choose an activity that you know you will enjoy. If you know that being alone will increase your chances of relapse, then get together with friends and stay with someone you trust.
  • Know that relapse is common. Addiction is a chronic disease and recovery is a lifelong process. In fact, close to half of the people who experience drug or alcohol addiction also experience relapses in recovery. If you relapse, it’s best to get back on track right away. Focus on how you can improve your recovery and know treatment is available along with aftercare. If you are looking for alcohol or drug rehab in New Jersey, Sunrise House can help.
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