10 Tips to Celebrate a Spooky and Sober Halloween

Authored by Elliott Redwine, | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Elizabeth Drew, MD
Last Updated: August 22, 2021

Halloween marks the start of the holiday season! It’s the first of many holidays over the next few months where people celebrate with one another. Even if gatherings might look a little different this year, it’s a great idea to be prepared. If you struggle with alcohol or drug addiction, trying to stay sober on Halloween can be a challenge. 

The holiday season is one of the hardest times for people in recovery. Drinking and holiday celebrations often go hand-in-hand, whether it’s at home with your family or out with friends. Staying sober during the next few months might feel difficult but it’s definitely possible!

It’s a great idea to head into the holiday season with a plan. You don’t have to drink to get together with friends or have a good time. There are plenty of ways you can meet up with family or friends without having to risk your recovery. These 10 tips to celebrate Halloween sober will set the pace as you head into the holidays!

Sober Halloween tips for recovering addicts - Host your own party

1. Host your own Halloween party

Host your own Halloween party or recruit a few friends to join in with you. When you host your own party you get to determine the rules which makes it easier to stay sober on Halloween. Keep the party small and invite friends from your recovery community over for a night of sober fun. If you invite people who drink, set a rule that it’s a booze-free evening. Plenty of people will be willing to keep their alcohol at home!

2. Hold a horror movie marathon with friends

If you’re a movie buff or you have friends who appreciate horror films, hold a horror movie marathon. Ask everyone to bring their favorite horror movie, pop some popcorn, and settle in for an evening of frights. Some people like to set a projector up on their lawn to bring the fun outdoors and share the experience with their neighbors. If you do choose to take the marathon outside, though, keep the scariness to a minimum!

3. Have a pumpkin carving contest

How about getting in touch with your creative side? Having a pumpkin carving contest is an exciting way to bring people together. Everyone can tap into their creativity or their competitiveness and carve a pumpkin. Let everyone know ahead of time so they can plan what they want to work on in advance. Pick someone to be the judge and then encourage everyone to bring their A-game. Don’t forget to set all the seeds to the side and bake some pumpkin seeds afterward to snack on for the next few weeks!

4. Go Trick or Treating with your kids or with a friend and their kids

Watching kids experience Halloween is one of the best parts of the holiday. Kids love spending the year planning who or what they want to be for the evening. Helping them bring the vision of their costume to life can be a great way to stay sober on Halloween. It’s hard not to smile when you watch how excited they get as they run from door to door. If you don’t have kids of your own, ask a friend or family member with kids if you can join them for the night.

tips for a sober halloween while in recovery

5. Make or bake some spooky snacks

There are thousands of ideas online for spooky Halloween treats. If you enjoy baking, whip up some fun Halloween-themed treats for your friends and family. You could even host a treat contest with your friends if you choose to throw a party. Ask everyone to bring a haunted Halloween treat with them and vote for who brought the best snack!

6. Ask a sober friend to support you

There’s nothing wrong with saying, “No, thank you,” to a Halloween party that might be tempting. If you’re worried it will make it hard to stay sober on Halloween, it’s better that you avoid that party. Think you’ll be okay, though? It’s still a good idea to ask a sober friend to come with you. Having the extra support while you’re out for the evening can make a massive difference.

7. BYOB: Bring your own beverage

Don’t forget to bring your own beverage if you’re going out to a Halloween party. People are less likely to offer you a drink if you already have one in your hand. If you want to stay sober on Halloween, bring a few nonalcoholic drinks with you. Most parties will have at least some type of alcohol-free option but it’s better to be prepared. Bring your favorite drink with you and you won’t have to worry about the selection at the party!

8. Spend the night in

Don’t feel like you have to go out and do something only because it’s Halloween. You don’t have to spend the evening at a party or off doing something if you don’t want to. It’s okay to spend the night in if you’d like to do your own thing for the evening. You can catch up on your favorite TV show, play a game, or watch a movie that you’ve been meaning to watch. If you’re worried you might feel tempted to drink while on your own, ask a friend or two to join you.

9. Attend a recovery meeting (or two)

Attending a recovery meeting is a great way to start or finish off any holiday during the year and Halloween is no different. Stop by a recovery meeting or two if you’re worried about how you’re going to stay sober on Halloween. Meetings are a great way to stay sober and find support. Everyone there understands what you’re going through and is working hard to do the same thing themselves.

10. Remember that sobriety comes one day at a time

Staying sober happens one day at a time. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you not only think about having to stay sober on Halloween but every other holiday, too. Focus on getting through Halloween first, though. You can only stay sober one day at a time and those other holidays aren’t quite here yet. Once you get through Halloween sober, you can focus on staying sober during the next gathering. As long as you’re surrounded by your recovery support system, you can stay sober through every day of the year.

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