10 Sober Spooky Ways to Make Halloween a Scream

Lianna Bass


Nov 02, 2023

Two lit jack-o-lanterns against a black background.

Ah, October, the spooky season. For some, pumpkin spice lattes, scary movies, and sweater weather are a way of life. But for lots of folks, autumn can trigger strong cravings for alcohol. Many find it difficult to stay sober during the holidays—especially if you're still figuring out how to stop drinking— and Halloween is no exception.

So if you’re in recovery or sober, it’s a great idea to be prepared. Here are 10 ways to stay sober on Halloween — and have a spooktacular time.

1. Decorate your house

It’s never too late to turn your home into a haunted house! Even if your house or apartment doesn’t get any trick-or-treaters, seeing a spooky skeleton or jolly jack-o’-lantern can get you into the holiday spirit.

FYI: You don’t have to spend big bucks on decorations. You can find awesome deals online or at your local dollar store or home goods store. You can also DIY your own creepy creations with stuff you already have lying around the house. There are loads of Halloween craft ideas on Pinterest, Etsy, and craft store websites.

2. Volunteer

Giving back can feel great. It’s also a wonderful way to distract yourself from the substance side of Halloween. Here are some options:

- Senior outreach. Call a local assisted living facility or senior center and ask if they need volunteers for Halloween night.

- Food drives. Organize a neighborhood food drive during the month of October. On Halloween, drop everything off at a local food bank.

- Animal shelters. Call your local animal shelter and ask to volunteer the week of Halloween. There are tons of fluffy friends who could use your help.

- School parties. Lots of schools have Halloween parties and parades. So if you have kiddos, ask how you can get involved.

- Blood donation. Donate blood or plasma at your local blood bank. You can make the experience more enjoyable by dressing up as Dracula (or don’t, totally up to you!).

3. Go trick-or-treating

Trick-or-treating can be a blast. Make it special by dressing up as your favorite monster, hero, or movie character. Some folks like to do group costumes with their fam, which can be a great bonding experience.

Even if you don’t have younger kids, you can ask a friend or family member if you can join them.

4. Host a sober potluck at work

Ask your colleagues if they’d like to participate in a spooky potluck party. Have everyone bring one Halloween-themed appetizer, meal, or dessert. Gather around for good food and sober fun.

If you don’t go into an office, you’re still in luck! You can always have a small potluck at your house. Invite some sober or supportive friends over and let the ghoul times roll.

5. Host a Halloween party

You might be a lot more comfortable at a party if you’re in control of the plans. Set clear ground rules beforehand. If you don’t want alcohol or substances in your house, let your guests know upfront. Once that’s out of the way, you can have a terrific time!

Here are some ghostly games and activities to play at your sober party:

- Bob for apples

- Candy corn toss

- Halloween piñata

- Horror movie trivia

- Halloween charades

- Murder mystery game

- Spooky scavenger hunt

Hungry for more ideas? Here are nine nifty recipes to make for your soirée:

1. Candied apples

2. Ghost s’mores dip

3. Baked mummy brie

4. Monster pizza bites

5. Spooky spinach dip

6. Witch finger cookies

7. Candy corn cupcakes

8. Roasted pumpkin seeds

9. Pumpkin pie cheesecake dip

6. Bake some spooky cookies

This is a great solo activity, but you might have even more fun doing it with the whole family. Or, invite some friends over! Use Halloween-themed cookie cutters to turn your sweet dough into coffins, skeletons, pumpkins, or ghosts. Once they’ve baked and cooled, you can decorate them with colored icings and sprinkles. Just be sure to save some room for candy!

7. Have a scary movie marathon

Do you like scary movies? Have a horror movie marathon with some supportive pals or alone (if you dare!).You can make it a week-long affair with lots of candy and snacks. Or, binge your favorite flicks on Halloween night.

8. Have a pumpkin carving contest

It’s not Halloween without pumpkin carving contents! Lay out some newspapers and invite a few friends or your fam over. You can make it a BYOP (bring your own pumpkin) event. Or, invite everyone out to a pumpkin patch beforehand for extra fun.

Alternatively, you can do an online pumpkin painting or carving contest. Create an event on Facebook or start a group chat.

9. Make a Halloween-themed mocktail

You can still enjoy a spooky sip and stay sober. There are oodles of odd, creepy, and delicious non-alcoholic beverages to try. Here are six spooktacular recipes:

- Virgin Bloody Mary

- Hocus Pocus punch

- Citrus spider mocktail

- Harry Potter butterbeer

- Virgin candy corn jello shots

- Smoking Halloween mocktail

Bonus: These magical mocktails are kid-friendly, too!

10. Go to a recovery meeting

Lots of folks are triggered to drink or use on Halloween. Your home group or local support meeting might be hosting a special get-together. Even if your meeting isn’t specifically spooky, it’s still a great distraction. Also, it can be very helpful to talk about your feelings with folks who really know what you’re going through.

Recovery meetings aren't limited to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Learn about other options by reading our guide with 10 alternatives to AA.

Qualify For Treatment

Bottom line

Halloween is a tricky time of year to stay sober. The most important thing you can do is come prepared. Plan what you want to do ahead of time so you don’t get caught up in last-minute decisions. And when in doubt, hit up an online recovery meeting or go to a sober gathering in your area.

About The Author

Lianna Bass is a copywriter, editor, and journalist. She holds a BA in English from Monmouth University and an MA in Global Communications from the American University of Paris. When not working, Lianna enjoys traveling, making ravioli, and grunge music.

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