Halloween changes a lot from childhood to adulthood. What once was a holiday full of trick-or-treating and haunted houses in your kid years has become a holiday for adults to go out and party with friends. While this is all in good fun, it is also important to acknowledge how triggering party culture can be for those with substance use disorders, as adult parties often include the use of alcohol or other substances. However, this doesn’t mean that people with SUD can’t participate in Halloween parties and celebrations. There are plenty of ways to make your Halloween party SUD-friendly as a host or still have fun while staying substance-free as a party guest!
Although you may think you’re the only one attending the Halloween party that won’t be drinking, you should assure yourself that you’re not alone! Whether people aren’t drinking or using other substances due to pregnancy, allergies, health reasons, recovery, or just a personal preference, you are sure to find others at a Halloween party who are also staying sober. So, try your best to waive the worry that you will stand out or feel out of place—at the end of the day, everyone is just at the party to have fun and socialize!
Halloween can be a particularly triggering holiday for individuals with substance use disorder. A study by American Addiction Centers found that Halloween was one of the “booziest” holidays, with significantly higher rates of binge drinking and alcohol-related accidents compared to holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving . Although a respectful host will obviously not stop their attendees from staying sober at their party, it can be extremely helpful to loved ones with SUD if there weren’t triggers or reminders of substance use present at the party.
There are plenty of ways to host a fun Halloween party without the main focus being on drinking or substance use. Here are some ways to make your Halloween party substance-free and fun!
Let your guests know ahead of time that the contest competition will be the night’s main event and allow them to vote on the winner. You can gather some prizes for the winner to receive, like a gift card, so there is an incentive for guests to go all out in their costume design. This makes for a fun activity all attendees can look forward to that’s completely unrelated to alcohol.
Be sure to be up-front with the fact that there will be no drugs or alcohol at this party and make sure your guests respect this rule. Consider who your guests are, as well. Are they respectful of you/your loved ones’ recovery journey? Or do they mock sobriety and peer pressure? If your guest falls into the latter category, it may be best to take them off the guest list this time.
Serving non-alcoholic beverages that are still delicious and aesthetically pleasing is a great way to get people excited about drinking without the presence of alcohol. See the list of mocktails at the end of this blog for ideas! Additionally, there are plenty of recipes for Halloween-themed treats that will be a main attraction at the party. Check some out here!
Sure, you can leave it up to guests to simply socialize with music playing, but adding some optional activities is always a good touch to any party. Consider breaking out the karaoke machines, putting together a cool backdrop for a photo booth, or even creating a horror-themed scavenger hunt! The options are endless.
It can be challenging to attend a non-substance-free Halloween party while sober. However, there are many ways to make it easier and more comfortable.
Having someone with you who is also sober will make you feel less out of place and help keep you accountable for your sobriety. And, if things get too hard, you have someone to leave with!
If someone at the party isn’t aware of your recovery journey and sobriety, they may offer you a drink or ask why you are not drinking. Although you may be comfortable explaining that you are in recovery, you should also know that you don’t owe them any explanation if you are uncomfortable doing so. Instead, you can prepare to use an excuse that most will respect and not question, such as “I’m the designated driver for tonight,” or “I have to get up early for work tomorrow, so I’m sticking to soda for tonight.”
Bring your own mocktail in a travel container to blend in more with other guests who have drinks in their hands. You can even pour the mocktail into a red-solo cup if this is what everyone else is holding! Check out the list of mocktails at the bottom of this blog for ideas.
This way, you can ensure that no substances will be around that can be a potential trigger to those with SUD. Plus, you’ll be in charge of activities, decor, drinks, and food so that you can plan the Halloween party of your dreams!
Remember, above all, staying sober this Halloween is doing what is best for you. If anyone makes you feel left out for not using substances, ignore them! You know how hard you have worked in recovery, and nobody else should get to have a say in the way you feel about yourself. Hold your head high and have fun!
Sober or not, some people just don’t enjoy Halloween parties, and that’s completely okay! Here are some other ways to celebrate that don’t involve partying.
Combine all ingredients. Shake and pour into a snifter glass. Add additional ice if needed.
In a highball glass, add ice, lemonade, blue raspberry syrup, and lime juice. Stir to mix. Garnish with a lemon slice. Carefully drop in dry ice, allowing it to dissolve fully and completely before drinking.
In a glass, pour in all of the lemonade and 2 ounces of the lemon-lime soda. Scoop the lime sherbet into the glass. Decorate the sherbet with candy eyeballs. When the monster sherbet has been decorated, pour in the rest of the lemon-lime soda. Enjoy immediately as the sherbet melts into the punch!
Muddle blackberries. Combine all other ingredients with blackberries and stir to combine.
Mix all ingredients together and serve over ice in a teacup.
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