Planning a Substance-Free Halloween


Planning a Substance-Free Halloween

Halloween kicks off the post-summer holiday season every year, but this one is going to be particularly eventful for many who have endured the past 20 months of COVID-19 restrictions while combating isolation, boredom, and loneliness. With vaccines readily available to the public and many venues re-opened, people are ready to head out in droves for a night of socializing.

An upcoming holiday like Halloween can evoke nervousness and uncertainty for people in recovery, especially with invites pouring in from friends and family looking to reconnect. Parties can be full of unsuspecting triggers, but it’s important to remember that the feeling of “missing out” due to recovery can also cause setbacks. Many patients in treatment fear they won’t know how to be happy after opiate addiction because their lives revolved so heavily around substance use. However, there are many ways to enjoy a sober and wholesome holiday like Halloween without compromising sobriety or fun!

Get into the Spirit!

Tapping into creative energy is a great way to stimulate the brain and restore some mechanic functions that may have been damaged by opioid misuse, and it’s a method often used in art therapy. Constructing Halloween decorations, goodie bags, and more can be incredibly rewarding, especially when shared with loved ones. Following how-to tutorials requires patience, attention, and planning, which are all skills that need to be continuously honed to stimulate neuroplasticity which helps rewire the brain. Other artsy ideas include: carving pumpkins, creating homemade costumes, setting up a spooky outdoor display, baking Halloween-themed sweets, and so many more activities and ideas that are just one Google search away.

Party Planning

The idea of attending a party while in recovery is intimidating, but with trusted family and friends around, it has the potential to be a blast! Being involved with the party planning process can help give people a sense of relief knowing what activities will be taking place, while the act of organizing the event is also a great way to ease pre-party jitters. Some entertaining ideas for a sober Halloween party include: planning a scavenger hunt, pumpkin carving contest, horror movie trivia, and tons more. Putting more focus on helping organize and host the event will act as a distraction from any potential triggers that may be lurking throughout the night.

Cozy, but Scary Night

With COVID-19 still posing a threat to many immunocompromised people, staying in on Halloween night isn’t the worst option. A scary movie night with a small group of friends, or solo, with tons of snacks, a movie lineup of all the classics and some new releases, and a flashlight (just in case!) makes for a safe and enjoyable evening at home. A night spent hiding under the blankets will feel even cozier if the day is spent at a local pumpkin patch or corn maze!

Celebrating holidays doesn’t have to be a drag in recovery. BAART Programs knows that many people with opioid use disorder think that they’ll never manage to enjoy life without substance use, but it’s not the case. With confidential and effective outpatient medication-assisted treatment that includes vital substance use counseling, patients can work to rebuild their lives one day at a time. Call or message us today to take the first step towards long-lasting recovery.


Medically Reviewed By:

Cris Villalon

Cris Villalon