Halloween themed gift bag holding candy corn, with small fake spiders and paper bat attached

Halloween is all-too-often linked to partying when you’re an adult, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You may be worried you can’t have fun on Halloween if you’re in recovery, but you absolutely can. While it’s still important to understand the challenges you face and be mindful of triggers or temptation, you can make spooky sober memories when you get creative.

Regardless of how you celebrate Halloween, it’ll look a little different this year. Be sure to read the CDC guidelines for safe Halloween fun and follow local coronavirus regulations to stay sober, safe and healthy.

Be Sure to Make Plans

If you’re looking forward to Halloween, but you aren’t sure what you’re going to do, make plans sooner rather than later. When you’re committed to your plans, it can help you stay sober and avoid situations you shouldn’t be in. Plus, things may book up faster this year than usual with capacity limitations due to social distancing.

If you’re not sure where to start or looking for some Halloween inspiration, we put together a list of some activities in Colorado that might be worth checking out.

Go to a Haunted Attraction

If you want to have sober but also adult-friendly Halloween fun, there are spooky haunted attractions, like:

  • Victorian Horrors: Located in Denver, Victorian Horrors is at the Molly Brown House Museum. You start the experience with a live-stream from a Gothic horror author, and then you make your way through the house as actors tell stories.
  • The Frightmare Compound: Located in Westminster, The Frightmare Compound is arguably one of the scariest haunted houses in the state and maybe the country.
  • Fright Acres: Fright Acres is the largest outdoor haunted attraction venue in Colorado. It’s home to several separate attractions, including Reaper’s Hollow, Fright Zone, and the Dead End Motel. Fright Acres is in Parker, Colorado.
  • Hellscream Haunted House: Located in Colorado Springs, the Hellscream House isn’t for children or the faint of heart, but it’s perfect if you love a good scare. It’s often ranked as one of the best and scariest haunted attractions in the state.

Have a Scary Movie Marathon

Is there anything more Halloween than scary movies? A night of horror movies or spooky-themed flicks with family or roommates is always a good way to enjoy the holiday.

While many movie theaters are closed due to COVID, there are outdoor options. For example, the Ironton Distillery in Denver is having an outdoor movie series. On October 22, they’re showing a Halloween movie. In Boulder, the department of Parks and Recreation is hosting a Halloween movie event on October 30 at the Flatiron Golf Course. There’s an early screening if you’re going with kids and a late screening for teens and adults. They’re asking for votes on what movie to play at the event. Also, the city of Golden is having a Movies & Music event on October 31 featuring “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” The movie is free, but you need to reserve a spot to go.

Attend a Halloween Festival

If scary isn’t necessarily your thing, but you’d like to get into the fall spirit, fall and Halloween-themed festivals are happening all over the state, like:

Before going to these events, make sure to read their safety procedures to make sure you’re comfortable. You’ll also want to wear masks, bring hand sanitizer and distance yourself from others.

Celebrate with Your Support System

Halloween can mean a lot of temptations or triggers for someone in recovery. If that’s a concern for you, designate a sober support system you can spend time with on that night. Even if you can’t be with them in person, arrange to be in contact with them by phone or virtually.

Feel Like A Kid Again

Halloween can be considered a holiday for children, so embrace your inner child and get into the spirit by helping with a spooky scavenger hunt, carving pumpkins or going trick-or-treating with your family or friends’ kids. You can once again remember the spirit of Halloween from the perspective of a child.

Attend a Halloween Event Held by a Support Group

AA, NA, and other recovery groups often have their own Halloween events, with the understanding that it can be a difficult time for someone in recovery. If you don’t have friends or family you can share the event with, see if your support group has anything going on.

Stay Away from Drinking Triggers

Don’t put yourself in a difficult or precarious situation on Halloween by being in situations that could trigger you. Be aware of your triggers, and, if necessary, write them down. This will help you stay more accountable and avoid them when the big day rolls around.

Halloween Is Not Required

Too often, we feel obligated to participate in events like Halloween, even if they make us uncomfortable or could push us in a negative direction. You don’t have to participate in Halloween at all if it’s not right for you or could challenge your sobriety. Ultimately, do what you’re comfortable with.

If you or a loved one struggles with staying sober, know that The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake is here to help. Contact our helpful representatives to get answers to your questions and discuss if addiction treatment is right for you.

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By – Kacie Chelli, MS
Kacie has her M.S. in clinical psychology. Previously, she was employed with American Addiction Centers, where she helped people find appropriate care to begin their journey in recovery. Read more
Editor – Melissa Carmona
Melissa Carmona puts years of writing and editing experience to work helping people understand substance abuse, addiction and mental health disorders. Read more

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. “Holiday Celebrations.” September 21, 2020. Accessed October 9, 2020.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.