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Halloween Partying: Celebrate the Spirits Without Spirits

Ways to celebrate Halloween drug and alcohol free

Sounds challenging, right?

At Evolve Treatment Centers, Halloween is a time our staff and teen clients have a great deal of fun discovering ways to enjoy this spooky, creepy, holiday without drugs or alcohol. Yes, it can be challenging, and even scary, to remain sober on Halloween, but ultimately, it is more rewarding to celebrate this way as you can truly be present and enjoy the people with whom you are celebrating.

Halloween celebrations, and parties in general, induce fright for those struggling with sobriety, as it is tradition to pretend to be some sinister, eerie goblin or ghost, a mischievous personality, or just someone or something unlike our own self. This transformation into an alter ego can open the door to various temptations and pose challenges to staying sober.

There are, however, many ways to enjoy Halloween without being inebriated. First and foremost, while it is important to participate in holiday fun so you don't become isolated or depressed, if you are trying to stay sober, choose your activities carefully. Or better yet, “be the host” and keep your environment controlled with friends who also want to remain sober. This can include friends who are in support of your sobriety and want to spend time with you in a situation that doesn’t put you at risk and understand that this party isn’t “partying.”

Here are some of the Evolve Team favorites that focus on fun while remaining sober:

Go for fear-

The Graveyard Shift:

What could be more terrifying than spending Halloween night in the middle of an actual graveyard – if you can get inside. In some states it is illegal to go inside a graveyard after sundown and many graveyards are fenced in and locked. Sitting in a graveyard at night sober creates a much more intense fear, so, if you and your friends succeed in getting inside a graveyard, here are some fun and spooky activities.

Tell ghost stories

Play Hide n Seek

Gravestone chalk rubbing

Have a Séance

Backyard Graveyard:

There are many ways to arrange a scary, but safe graveyard party at your own home. Create a graveyard in your backyard (or indoors, if you don’t have a backyard). Supplies needed: Tombstones, which you can buy at a Halloween supply store or make at home (think Pinterest), cobwebs, miscellaneous plastic body parts, carved creepy pumpkins, holiday green, purple, or orange lights, and a fog machine (you can find them for under $50).

Cover the backyard gate/ or doorway with cobwebs that guests have to walk through to enter.

Have a Halloween scavenger “haunt” in your backyard/or indoor graveyard.

Make your own tombstone – have each guest design their own tombstone – leave off their name – pass around the tombstones and everyone can guess whose it is.

Go for fun:

To keep the focus off drinks and drugs, stay active. This one keeps everyone running.

Halloween Camera Scavenger Hunt – When all guests arrive at your home (and they must wear a costume and arrive on time), divide them up in groups of 3-5 and give each team a scavenger hunt list. Put each team’s list in a different order so that the teams are not doing the same thing at the same time. The teams must get photos at different landmarks, (with police officers, next to funny signs, at a restaurant, etc.). Once they get everything completed, they return to the house with the photos. First team to return with everything on the list photographed is the winner. As the teams return, you can download the photos and create a slide show and let it run on a computer throughout the evening. Conversations will inevitably be centered on sharing and telling stories about each team’s adventure.

Go for meaning:

It is common to struggle financially, physically, mentally, and with sobriety around the holidays. There are thousands of organizations that specialize in providing support, especially during the holidays. “Let your fingers do the walking” and Google various organizations to volunteer. Shift your focus to a more positive energy. It’s incredibly rewarding and will keep your intent on the cause and helping others rather than on yourself and introspection.

Go for creativity-

Interactive events can provide distraction from the desire to drink or do drugs.

Create your own horror/comedy flick. Write a script, divide parts, each person makes a costume, film it, edit it and hold a Halloween screening party complete with a huge screen, projector, awesome food and a good laugh/or fright. You can even fundraise for a cause and open the screening to the public.. All without alcohol. Think Youtube sensation.

Pumpkin Carving Contests:

Create an In-Home Haunted House – for example: The House of 100 corpses and have all your guests be a corpse or make a corpse to decorate.

Have all your guests dress up and bring their pets in costume too, as well as have a contest for the pets.

Organize a murder mystery party. Assign parts to all of your guests and have them dress up as their character.

If you a feeling homebound for Halloween and just want to sit back and relax with friends, try holding an Alfred Hitchcock movie marathon or watch every Simpsons Halloween special ever made. Make, pizza, popcorn, and “alcohol-free” punch and let the trick-or-treaters come to you.