Halloween parties are great fun. After all, who doesn’t love to dress up and go out for a great time? For those of us in recovery, navigating the temptations Halloween presents can be, well, very scary.
In gratitude, harmony and support,
You might think of Halloween as the first holiday of many for the months to come. And perhaps you have friends and family members who find Halloween to be the first drinking holiday of the season. However, if you’re in recovery or at least striving to stay sober, then drinking or drug use is something you want to avoid.
But what if you also want to join in on the fun? Halloween can be incredibly festive especially with the opportunity to be creative and dress up in a costume. And have you ever participated in the Mexican holiday, the Day of the Dead? It too is colorful, celebratory, and creative. Both holidays are meant to honor those who have already passed on, perhaps friends and family members that we love. It’s a day of honoring the ancestors who now live in a world beyond our own.
If you want to enjoy the festivities, here are some alternatives to consider so that you don’t find yourself drinking:
Stay home and celebrate with family. If you have sober friends and family members, invite them over for a sober celebration of Halloween. Put up your decorations and colorful Halloween designs. You might even get out the pictures of your relatives that are now deceased. Celebrate their lives, make it a night of honoring loved ones that have passed on.
Volunteer to hand out candy (or snacks) to trick or treaters. Often, social organizations will stay open and hand out something healthy to young trick or treaters. Instead of candy, they might give them stickers, snacks, or small toys. You can still dress up and enjoy the fun, but as a volunteer you’ll be doing something positive for your community.
Find a sober Halloween buddy and enjoy the fun together. You’re probably not the only one who wants to stay sober. Have you met someone at a 12-step meeting? Or perhaps at one of your support groups? The two of you can support each other’s sobriety on Halloween. Together, you might take a walk downtown or visit the mall to watch the fun, while holding each other accountable in sobriety.
Go to a 12-step meeting. Some meetings might be celebrating Halloween too! All your sober buddies might also dress up and come to the meeting in costume! At the same time, other meetings might not be celebrating at all. This can be another way to treat holidays – as though they are just like any other day.
Do something non-Halloween related but still fun. If you want to enjoy yourself on the holiday, sobriety doesn’t mean you have to take the fun out of life! But perhaps to keep it safe on Halloween, you might go out but avoid the parties. Maybe you’ll go to a movie, enjoy the show at a comedy club, or go roller skating.
These are suggestions for steering away from drinking and drug use on Halloween, or any other holiday for that matter. It’s important to have a plan, especially if you’re the type who wants to have your cake (fun), and eat it too (sobriety). Yes, you can have both! Think ahead of time about what you’re going to do, who you’re going with, and what you’re going to say if someone says, “Can I buy you a drink?” Your prepared answer might be, “I still enjoy having fun, but I no longer need to drink to enjoy myself!”