Halloween is a big night not only for kids and adults alike. If you’re in recovery, Halloween can feel like a challenge as a time associated with drinking and partying. However, many Halloween activities are enjoyable and compatible with your sobriety. Sometimes, a sober version of a holiday requires a bit of creative thinking. These ideas and events can help you plan a ghoulish night.
Even if it’s your tenth Halloween in recovery, the spooky season still looks a bit different this year. You may want to look over the CDC guidelines1 for a safe Halloween during the pandemic to stay healthy as well as sober.
Focus on Halloween and Not the Alcohol
So much of recovery is about reframing your perspective and re-learning how to do things. This includes learning how to celebrate events without the influence of drugs and alcohol. Celebrating Halloween in recovery is an exciting opportunity to do things outside your old thought process. You may have understood adult fun as dress up, drink, party and repeat. Now, you can visit a haunted house, watch a scary movie marathon or munch on spooky treats.
Hold Your Own Sober Halloween Event
If hanging out with friends or family is still your favorite part of the holiday, you can have your own sober Halloween event. The CDC recommends1 virtual events or outdoor events with masks and social distancing. You can host a virtual costume contest over Zoom or sip themed mocktails as you carve pumpkins in the backyard. Invite a small group of friends or family that you can count on to stay sober with you while enjoying the holiday.
Feel Like a Kid Again
A sober Halloween gives you the chance to see it through the eyes of a child again. If you have children in your family or friends with kids, tag along with them to trick-or-treat or host a spooky scavenger hunt around the house. The glee kids feel on Halloween can infect your own perception of the holiday.
Take It Easy
If you’re worried that Halloween could be triggering for you, you are always free to pretend that Halloween is like any other day. There’s nothing wrong with that. Your recovery is about finding what works best for you, not other people.
Local Sober Halloween Activities
If you’re in New Jersey and you’re looking for ways to celebrate, some local sober events include:
- Maple Leaf Farms Funfest: Maple Leaf Farms is holding its annual Fall Funfest and Pumpkin Picking event through October. It’s open only on the weekends with COVID-19 safety procedures in place. There are bull-riding shows, food and drink options, a hayride and many other activities.
- Scare Farm: Open for the 2020 season, Scare Farm is in Hillsborough, New Jersey. For a single ticket price, you get access to the Paranoia Walking Trails, The Slayride and Creepy Hollow.
- Scary Rotten Farms: Scary Rotten Farms has three different attractions as well. There’s Sinister Sneed’s Chaotic Carnival of Chaos, Twisted Tales and Blackened The Plague. Scary Rotten Farms is located at Berry Fresh Farms in Brick Township.
- Brighton Asylum: This haunted asylum has been featured on Cake Boss, The Today Show and other outlets. Bright Asylum is located in Passaic. It’s a walk-through attraction with live actors and Hollywood-inspired special effects.
- Brite Nites: Brite Nites is in Warren and it’s at Wagner Farm Arboretum. It’s a drive-thru event this year with hand-carved jack-o-lanterns and LED displays.
- Skylands Stadium Jack-O-Lantern Experience: This drive-thru experience is family-friendly and festive. You only need one ticket for each car, and the event will include more than 5000 jack-o-lanterns.
Reach Out for Support
Your support system is critical to your recovery and Halloween is no exception. Holidays, in general, are a tough time for people in recovery. Even if you can’t be with them on October 31st, rely on them virtually. Make it a time that’s about building sober memories.
If you’re worried your substance use has gotten out of hand, reach out to The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper. We can discuss treatment options and resources that can help you on the way to recovery.
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- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. “Holiday Celebrations.” September 21, 2020. Accessed October 9, 2020.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.