Seeing the way that people party on Halloween can be, well, downright scary. The holiday has become synonymous with lots of hard partying, the candy of childhood replaced with drugs and alcohol. Around the country it’s common to see people dressed up and stumbling, before they’ve even reached their party destination.
All of that in-your-face substance use can make Halloween difficult for people who are in recovery. That’s especially true for people celebrating their first sober Halloween. If you’ve used drugs or alcohol heavily in the past, it’s likely that hard partying became a Halloween tradition that you looked forward to year after year.
Adapting to new traditions after years of partying on Halloween can be a transition, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Here are five ideas for a sober Halloween experience that will be one to remember, brought to your by the team at, which offers detox, residential treatment and an outpatient program in Costa Mesa, California.
1. Get Spooked
If you love to be scared, spend Halloween checking out the best haunted houses in your area. Many haunted houses require that participants be sober, so this is the perfect way to engage with Halloween traditions without being tempted to drink or use. Gather up a group of friends and spend the evening going to three of the scariest haunts in your town.
Before or after, grab a snack and a mocktail at your favorite restaurant. Since most of the revelers will be heading to the bars, restaurants will a relatively peaceful spot to build up your bravery, or laugh over just how terrified you were.
2. Go Behind The Scenes
Maybe haunted houses are triggering for you, or you prefer not to be scared out of your mind for fun. In that case, opt for a quiet evening at home handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. Brew yourself a nice cup of coffee or tea and head to the porch, where you can watch a parade of little ghouls and goblins come by to collect their goodies.
If you live in an area that doesn’t get much foot traffic on Halloween, check your local community listings. Many towns and communities organize Main Street trick-or-treat events, which can always use more volunteers to help hand out candy.
3. Trick or Treat, But Not For Candy
If you prefer to be out amid the trick-or-treat action, you can still trick-or-treat, even as an adult. This time, however, you’ll be asking for change, not candy. A variety of programs allow kids and adults to trick-or-treat for a cause. One of the most popular is Trick-or-treat for UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund). The money collected during trick-or-treat helps support UNICEF’s mission of supporting kids. The spare change funds purchases of food, school supplies and notebooks for the kids most at need.
4. Be Sober, Sexy and Scary
Are you a Halloween die-hard who loves dressing up? If so, put on your best costume and find a sober Halloween party in your area. With sobriety being ever-more in vogue, more and more organizations are hosting substance-free Halloween parties that are still super fun.
If you want to get a jump on the celebration, look for morning events, like Daybreaker’s Halloween Sunrise At Sea (taking place in New York City). The event has great music, food and drinks, but is meant for people who want to stay totally sober.
5. Be Of Service
There are many ways to have sober fun on Halloween, but there’s also no skirting around the fact that the holiday is triggering for many people who are in recovery. If you’re struggling, grab a bag of candy or a gallon of warm cider to share, then head to your favorite 12-step meeting. It may not be the Halloween celebration that you envisioned, but a meeting will help you focus on your recovery goals and remind you why you decided to live life without drugs or alcohol. Plus, you never know who there will need to hear your story to stay sober this Halloween.
offers residential and outpatient treatment in Costa Mesa, California. Learn more by calling 949-438-4504.