TRICKS FOR TREATING YOURSELF TO A SOBER HALLOWEEN By Caleb Anderson
Americans have a way of taking something cute and innocent and transforming it into an excuse to party. Perhaps no example serves better than Halloween. What used to be a holiday for kids to dress up in drugstore costumes and go door-to-door receiving candy is now a debaucherous occasion for adults. In fact, Halloween now beats out New Years Eve in drinking related auto fatalities 3 to 1.
If you’re going through recovery, you may think your only option is to avoid Halloween altogether. However, the feeling of “missing out” tends to make things more difficult and there’s no reason to deny yourself a healthy, fun time for all. Despite what college frat boys may think, Halloween can be plenty enjoyable sans alcohol and drugs.
Act Like a Kid Again
People love telling each other to “grow up,” but then they get sloshed and act like irrational, mewling babies. It’s a much better look to embrace your inner child on Halloween and focus on the wholesome aspects of the holiday.
Plan on wearing a costume! Whether you’re a Liz Lemon who wears the same Princess Leia outfit year after year or you’re a Heidi Klum type who loves to go all-out year after year, the joy of dressing up is pure. If costumes aren’t really your thing, consider decorating your place to make it more inviting for neighborhood kids. Just steer your mind in the direction towards making the holiday as it was when the only buzz you needed came from sugar.
Make Some Money
If you are lucky enough to have your own automobile, sign up for a ride share program and take advantage of the insane surge charges that happen on one of the most lucrative nights of the year. You can make big bucks while also helping people get safely home and reducing the amount of alcohol related auto fatalities. An added bonus: seeing all those drunk, obnoxious, messy people while you are clear headed will remind you why you became sober in the first place.
If you have the itch to stay social this Halloween, there’s no reason why you can’t party in a sober environment. Some places of worship throw Halloween get togethers where families can celebrate in a safe environment. People from your recovery group may be interested in a get together where you can dress up and avoid temptation together. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone when going through recovery, so reach to those in your community and see where the (sober) party is at!
Time for a Movie Marathon
For many people, the best part of the Halloween season is staying in and binging scary movies. It gives you all the thrills of the season from the comfort of your own home. Order your favorite pizza or takeout and bundle up for a veg-a-thon. A lot of people have their go-to horror favorites (The Shining, anyone?), but if you’re strapped for ideas, check out this Paste list of The 100 Best Horror Movies of All Time. Even better, Netflix has a plethora of scary movies in queue. If streaming isn’t your thing and you’re a little strapped for cash, your local library should have of the classics for free… just be sure to get there early before everyone else snatches them up!
If you just love the experience of going to the cinema, many branches show double headers and special screenings for Halloween. October is also one of the best months for new release horror movies, so your options are plenty. While you’re there, treat yourself to popcorn AND a candy… it is a holiday, afterall.
Halloween doesn’t have to be a buzz kill-- there are plenty of ways to have fun while sober. Embrace your inner child and embrace the candy and costumes. Make a little money and help keep people safe by driving for a rideshare. Celebrate with like minded people who avoid drugs and alcohol, or keep it chill with a monster movie marathon. Whatever you choose to do, feel proud for bettering yourself and your life with sobriety.
Alanna is the Owner and Clinical Director of Breathe., LLC. Alanna is a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist, Registered Yoga Instructor, and Certified Heartmath Trainer. Alanna has over 20 years of experience working in the addictions field. Alanna takes a holistic approach when working with clients, combining the mind, body, and spirit in counseling.