Halloween is a holiday that, as adults, we often associate with partying, drinking and even substance use. Halloween and other holidays can be a tough time if you’re in recovery. You may feel like you’re not ready for a party environment, but if you still want to enjoy the night, there are options available. The main thing to remember for Halloween is that you don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with.
Having a safe and sober Halloween takes on a new meaning this year. If you do participate in any of the Halloween events in Ohio highlighted below, consider these COVID-19 guidelines and follow local regulations and event procedures to stay safe.
Spend Time with Sober Friends
Your support system is integral to your sobriety and recovery, and that’s particularly true during holidays and times when you may experience triggers. Do Halloween-related activities together with people you know and trust. Drive-through haunted houses, scary movie marathons, virtual costume contests over Zoom and pumpkin-carving can all be done without alcohol.
Learning how to have fun without the influence of substances is often one of the challenges of sobriety, but it’s much easier when you have a strong support system of friends or family to do it with you.
Attend Kid-Friendly Activities
Sometimes as adults, we forget the magic of holidays that we felt when we were kids. There was something so special about Halloween for most of us as children, so change your perspective this year. If you have kids, kids in your family or you have friends with kids, make Halloween special for them. Dress up in a costume, make some snacks and host a spooky scavenger hunt so they can celebrate safely. If you do go trick-or-treating, the CDC recommends going to homes you trust. However you choose to celebrate, take yourself back to when you felt the same excitement about this time of year.
Attend a Sober Halloween Event
If you decide you’d like to participate in the festivities, Ohio has some great options. The following are a few examples of Ohio Halloween events going on this year.
Events in the Cleveland/Akron Area
In the Cleveland/Akron area, Halloween events this year include:
- Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Trick-or-Treat Fest: This event takes place in the daytime and includes trick-or-treating, live performances and meet-and-greets with characters in costumes.
- Magic of Halloween Mapleside Farms: You can social distance and participate in this drive-up Halloween experience. There’s a light show, music animations and more. You can also purchase fall favorites like apple cider and cinnamon sugar cider donuts.
- Tricks and Treats Fall Fest: This family-friendly Ohio Halloween event is at Cedar Point and replaces Halloweekends. Kids are encouraged to wear costumes and reservations are required.
Events in the Columbus Area
If you’re in and around Columbus, consider the following festivities:
- Haunted Maze at Hoover Gardens: This family-friendly event includes the chance to walk through a haunted maze and there’s no charge. It’s open throughout October.
- Sleepy Hollow Drive-In: The Ohio History Center in Columbus hosts a Sleepy Hollow Drive-In every Friday in October. They’re showing classic Halloween movies; as you exit, you listen to the Legend of Sleepy Hollow Story on your radio and drive through Halloween scenery.
- JDRF Halloween Drive: This is a Halloween drive-thru for all ages that supports type 1 diabetes research. There’s a nostalgic graveyard, Wizard of Oz-themed areas, and a pirate cove.
Events in the Cincinnati/Dayton Area
For people in Cincinnati and Dayton, activities this month include:
- Fall on the Farm: This event is at the Blooms & Berries Farm Market with traditional fall activities like a corn maze, hayrides and a pumpkin patch. You’ll find fresh-squeezed apple cider and caramel apples as well.
- Haunted Scream Park: The Haunted Scream Park is at the Land of Illusion Adventure Park in Middletown. Each night, the thrills are different than the night before, and if you love horror, this may be the Cincinnati event for you.
- Haunted Village: Located in Sharonville, Haunted Village is family-friendly but still spooky. The Heritage Village Museum transforms into a Haunted Village inside Sharon Woods. There’s a cursed archeologist who will guide you through the haunted cemetery.
Events in the Toledo Area
If you’re searching for sober Halloween events in the Toledo area, options include:
- Pumpkin Path: Pumpkin Path is happening at the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, and reservations and advanced tickets are required. There will be outdoor activities and trick-or-treat stations as well as pumpkin carving demos, stories and songs with Witch Sisters Matilda and Hilda.
- Halloween Spooktacular: The Toledo Symphony is presenting a Halloween-themed performance at the Toledo Museum of Art. You can dress up and kids are welcome.
- Field of Fear: a haunted corn maze with ax murderers and demented doctors. It’s located in Monclova.
Events in Southwest Ohio
A few other events in Southwest Ohio not included above are:
- Through the start of November, there’s the Land Illusion Scream Park: Haunted Nights Event.
- Terror Town is held on the weekends in Williamsburg. You can play games, eat and shop before you go on the trail.
- In Middletown, there’s the Nightmare Manor.
It’s Okay To Not Participate
If your recovery is new or you don’t feel comfortable participating in Halloween this year, understand that’s okay too. It’s important to do what you’re comfortable with. If you feel like it’s too challenging to avoid alcohol or drugs during Halloween, respect your own boundaries. You always need to protect and take care of yourself first.
If you’re worried about your habits around alcohol or drugs, you can learn more about addiction treatment and recovery. Contact The Recovery Village Columbus to talk about treatment options that may suit your needs.
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. “Holiday Celebrations.” September 21, 2020. Accessed October 9, 2020.
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