Halloween is renowned for all things spooky but, when it comes to early recovery, ghosts aren’t the only spirits doing the haunting. After all, when you remove the ‘z’ and ‘e’ from booze, all you’re left with is “boo,” and that doesn’t sound like a promising time. Just think about it: An audience “boos” at lackluster entertainment – not a monster mash.
Okay, okay…we will (reluctantly) stop with the Halloween puns (for a minute). In all seriousness, Halloween deserves as much attention – from a relapse prevention standpoint – as other year-end holidays. In a society that seeks any excuse to break out the alcohol, Halloween is just another reason to party. So, how do you keep your spirit high without actually getting high?
5 Ways to Keep the ‘Happy’ in Halloween
- Spend an Evening at a Haunted House or Theme Park – There is no swifter way to attain a healthy adrenaline rush than to go to a haunted house or a theme park. Why wouldn’t you want terrifying figures jumping out of dark places and chasing you? (Well, maybe you wouldn’t.) Better yet, volunteer to be the terrifying figure hiding in the shadows. It will be a scream. If having your tail scared straight off doesn’t make your list of fun times, don’t worry. We have ideas for you, too!
- Attend or Host a Halloween Costume Party – The attraction of a Halloween party should not be drugs or alcohol. If that’s the case, why bother with the extraneous party details? Step up your party game by embracing the horror movies, bonfires, harvest games, and costume contests that are best enjoyed this time of year. An added benefit of Halloween in recovery is that you won’t be haunted by monstrous mistakes in the morning.
- Haunted Halloween Tours – New England has no shortage of haunted cities. If you haven’t made the trip to Salem, Massachusetts, add it to your Halloween bucket list! No matter where you go, you should be able to find haunted walking, hearse, or trolley tours, and ghostly hotels or inns. If travel is up your haunted alley, research a city near you and book a reservation!
- Pumpkin Carving Night – You don’t need to spend a lot of money to put the fright back in your night. Invite your friends over to carve pumpkins, toast pumpkin seeds, and make Halloween treats. If you are competitive, you can turn it into a carving competition. Throw on Netflix or stream Pandora’s Halloween station. Make the night an annual tradition; photograph your glowing orange masterpieces and track your artistry over the years.
- Deck Out Your House and Yourself – You won’t have time to dwell on drugs and alcohol if you’re busy making your house the spookiest trick-or-treat destination in the neighborhood. Don’t stop with your house! Deck out the whole family – even the dog! Trick-or-treaters will delight in visiting you on Halloween… and the bright decorations will surely make the waning daylight a little easier to stomach.
One thing is for certain: Halloween isn’t going to be fun if you don’t make an effort to try new things. Recovery is a program of action. On October 31st, you may see the walking dead, but you don’t need to be the walking dead. Those of us who are in recovery don’t work hard to merely tolerate a miserable existence. Let the mythical creatures of Halloween folklore sleep their days away… this is your time to live.
Do you need help implementing relapse prevention strategies? Please call (888) 649-1149 or contact us here.
Autumn Khavari is the Process Recovery Center’s in-house writer. She received an education in Substance Use Counseling from Beal College in Bangor, Maine.