Halloween has always been a favorite holiday for many children, allowing them the chance to don a festive costume for fun, scares and of course, candy. However, Halloween has grown into much more of an adult holiday in recent years. Adult Halloween parties often risk more than innocent mischief, as some view the holiday as a chance to heavily indulge in alcohol or controlled substances.
If you are in recovery, Halloween doesn’t have to be night you may not remember all that well as a result. There are plenty of eventful activities taking place here in Southern California that you can enjoy, without having to feel the need for intoxication to have a good time.
- Haunted Queen Mary – The Queen Mary is a retired ocean liner that now serves as a popular tourist attraction in Long Beach. The vessel has been considered by Time Magazine to be one of the most haunted locations in America. The Queen Mary takes advantage of this mystique surrounding it by hosting unique and entertaining Halloween events each year. There is the Twilight Historical Tour, which offers insight into its history. In addition, the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor offers fun such as haunted mazes with plenty of scares and this year’s all new Voodoo Village. There are also amusement rides including zip lining and live entertainment with the ghoulishly dressed.
- Knott’s Scary Farm – You may also choose to visit the haunts at Knott’s Scary Farm in Buena Park, which is now the biggest Halloween event to be held at any theme park. The seasonal event includes assorted scary mazes and several hundreds of costumed monsters. Elvira, the Mistress of the Dark, will be returning to host her new show, “Elvira’s Big Top” twice per night in the park this month. Knott’s traditional rides and roller coasters are always a thrill too.
- Hollywood Horror Nights – Another frightful option is Hollywood Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City. There will be mazes based on horror films such as “An American Werewolf in London” and “Clowns 3D: Music by Slash,” a new maze featuring a soundtrack by the former Guns N’ Roses guitarist. The tram back lot tour will also be transformed into “Terror Train: Invaded by The Walking Dead,” where you must survive a zombie apocalypse inspired by the television show. Several costumed scare zones throughout the park will awe you with their realistic Hollywood effects. There’s no better place to go than Hollywood where these movies are made.
- Horror movie night – If you are a horror film buff, you can gather together with your friends and arrange to see a horror movie in theaters. In addition, you may also plan a horror film marathon at home with friends, letting everyone choose a flick to contribute. This is the perfect time to revisit the “Halloween” film series and many other classics and new releases. Celebrate with decorated treats, popcorn, candy apples, pumpkin carving and trick-or-treat candy.
- Haunted hayrides – These attractions, such as the famed Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, take place on a farm or other such agricultural area. Visitors travel on a wagon filled with hay through woods, cornfields, barns and more. Along the way, they are confronted with costumed creatures and evils such as the Headless Horseman. The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride celebrates its sixth year this Halloween and features a new, extended ride for those riders returning from previous years.
- Trick or treat with your children – If you have kids, now is an excellent time to take in the true, traditional spirit of Halloween by taking them trick-or-treating. You may choose to invite along friends without children to join you or have a friend pass out candy while you are out trick-or-treating with them. Enjoy some candy as well, but remind yourself and your children to practice self control. The traditional festivity is a perfect reason to enjoy building back relationships with your loved ones in a family-friendly environment.
- Host your own Halloween party – You may choose to host your own Halloween party with family and friends who support your sobriety. Invite a few of your fellow Sovereign alumni or other contacts within your networking group. Spend time decorating your home so that it resembles a spooky haunted house for the evening. Invite friends to bring over Halloween-themed treats and non-alcoholic beverages.
- “The Night of the Living Dead” at The Maverick Theater or dress up for a midnight premiere of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at Ken Cinema in San Diego. For some creepy and shocking entertainment, be sure to head to Fullerton to attend The Maverick Theater’s production of “The Night of the Living Dead.” The production is returning for its ninth year this Halloween and has received rave reviews from publications like the Orange County Register. “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is the longest-running midnight movie of all time that is hosted throughout the country with actors that reenact the movie. Audience members are strongly encouraged to dress up with a costume contest in the middle of the showing.
- Pumpkin carving – A big part of the traditional fun of the holiday has always been pumpkin carving. Now is a great time to try your hand and test your skill with your very own carving design. Gather with friends who support your sobriety to carve pumpkins earlier in the day. This is just as good a time as any, as your carved pumpkin is still guaranteed to appear fresh on Halloween night for neighbors.
- Roast pumpkin seeds – If you decide to carve a pumpkin, don’t throw those pumpkin seeds away! Instead, wash them thoroughly, salt them and roast them on a pan in the oven. Roasted pumpkin seeds make a delicious and festive Halloween snack for the evening.
There are plenty of options to help you enjoy Halloween without having to turn to substance or alcohol abuse. Be sure that those you spend the holiday with are aware of the planned sobriety and politely decline to attend any parties where alcohol or controlled substances will be involved. Enjoy your Halloween and in order to maintain your future sobriety, be sure to choose another event next year that you didn’t get around to this year.
Written by Sovereign Health Group writer, Ryan McMaster