Halloween is a famous holiday, and for kids, it means trick-or-treating in costumes and enjoying the rewards of the candy they’ve gathered. For everyone else, it’s typically about celebrating with parties and other social gatherings. However, it’s possible to enjoy the holiday without having to be under the influence. With a little know-how, you can stay sober on Halloween.

Also, keep in mind that social distancing measures and masks are still the best practices during this pandemic. With the below suggestions, be sure to adhere to the CDC recommendations to stay safe.

What is Halloween About for Adults?

Typical Halloween parties include costume parties where food and drinks are available. Halloween tends to be a social event for people of any age. One of the most common ways for people to socialize is by bonding over alcoholic beverages, which lower personal inhibitions and negative emotions such as fear. Any holiday makes an easy excuse for adults to bring out the beer, and even those that do not normally drink otherwise are tempted to participate in major social or holiday drinking based on the belief that occasional instances don’t hurt. In fact, alcohol consumption increases by 30% on Halloween.

How did Halloween Become a Drinking Holiday?

It can be a challenge to figure out how to stay sober on Halloween, or how to have fun sober in general. Some people believe the holiday is childish unless it includes alcohol, and a common belief is that one should drink at every opportunity. However, the background behind Halloween itself becoming a drinking holiday is a little more complex.

Oktoberfest is a famous beer holiday that originated in Germany. Eventually, it made its way to the United States, where it has several long-running events. It’s one holiday where Americans can celebrate German heritage and influence, and one of the things German people are known for is beer. And because of Oktoberfest and Halloween being in the same month, many liquor and beer companies capitalize on holiday themes and promotions to sell their products.

Some of the biggest drinkers are Millenials. In spite of representing only a fourth of drinking-age adults, they account for one-third of overall spirits consumption. This particular age group is most likely to stay at home for social activities. Fewer numbers of young people participating in traditional family building has resulted in a tendency to drink more than previous generations, especially for the purposes of socializing. Plus, being at home makes it easier to drink since there’s no worry about getting home from a bar or club. And although just 15% of Baby Boomers think it takes too much effort to drink away from home, 55% of overall American consumers prefer drinking at home.

One of the factors for Millenial alcohol consumption is the marketing of wine towards their age group. About 26% of Millenials above the legal drinking age drank wine compared to 41% of Baby Boomers in 2012. While the difference is significant, the younger generation no longer sees wine as being unrelatable and only for older people.

Another factor is abandoning beer in favor of hard shelters and liquor. However, this change signifies an increase in health-consciousness among Millenials. Not only do they believe beer makes them gain weight, but they are making efforts to drink less. Their reasons include practical concerns surrounding finances, having a diversity of activities other than drinking, and anticipating long-term goals as they get older. They also do not enjoy going into work with a hangover. In short, increasing numbers of Millenials no longer see drinking as cool or fun.

How to Stay Sober on Halloween

Here are seven ways to enjoy the spirit of Halloween without the spirits:

  1. Make Halloween about food and desserts. Let your creativity shine, or employ the help of friends and family for group participation. Have a Halloween potluck.
  2. Make non-alcoholic drinks such as apple cider, herbal tea, coffee, mocktails, punches, or fruit smoothies with Halloween themes. Focus on making them tasty and colorful, and include more than one type for variety.
  3. Have fun games for adults and young people. Appeal to a wide variety of age groups or that of your social circle. If bobbing for apples or carving pumpkins don’t sound exciting enough or age-appropriate, try karaoke, a scavenger hunt, murder mystery, making scary masks, or telling scary stories.
  4. Get out of the house (while being sure to take necessary precautions during the pandemic). Being away from home discourages people from turning to alcohol because it takes more effort to do so. 
  5. Have a party with a costume contest. Include a prize or award for extra motivation and excitement.
  6. Make an at-home gathering or party more relaxing and socially engaging with music and dancing, or a radio show, tv show, or movie marathon.
  7. Surprise friends and family with gifts. Halloween is not popular for gift-giving, but that makes it an even better opportunity. There are plenty of unique things you can buy for your loved ones. Consider a Halloween gift-giving event.

What are the Benefits of Halloween Without Alcohol?

The benefits of celebrating Halloween without alcohol are similar to those for any other holiday or in general. You’ll have more energy physically and mentally, and feel challenged (in a good way) to engage socially with full sobriety. You’ll be in total control of your situation and able to participate without any cognitive impairment. Plus, you’ll remember everything that happened — and be left with good memories — thanks to increased mental clarity.

The best part about celebrating Halloween without alcohol is that it’s a huge step in the right direction in learning how to have fun sober. Making the effort to be sober during any holiday is an important lifestyle choice that will give you confidence from refusing alcohol. Although it’s difficult, it’s definitely possible.

Peer pressure is a major factor in alcohol addiction recovery, as is the presence of alcohol around you. Make the effort to not have any alcohol or allow anyone to bring alcohol into the house for Halloween. It’s even better if you have the support of family and friends or a trusted counselor.

We at Ethos Recovery care about your recovery in both the short- and long-term. We focus on helping people not only to get sober but to stay sober. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol or other substance addiction, contact us today.