Thursday, October 31st in both the U.S. and Canada, many people will celebrate Halloween. Traditionally, on the evening of this day, children go door to door dressed in costumes “trick or treating” to ask for candy.

Before recovery, buying candy for trick or treaters was one of many excuses food addicts used to binge. Many food addicts shopped for candy weeks before Halloween only to eat what was reserved as “treats” themselves. This meant buying more candy the next day and for some repeating this cycle many times before Halloween.

Once in recovery, food addicts learn that they have choices, one of which is whether or not to even take part in a holiday. The first step in making this decision is always to talk with a sponsor or professional who can help you to understand the best way for you to stay abstinent during what others may consider a special day.

My niece “Princess Georgia”

Food addicts in recovery learn not to give too much importance to any one day especially if there is a danger of bingeing. Some food addicts are able to participate in holidays and if you’re one of these then it’s important to plan out how to stay abstinent.

For example, an Abstinent Halloween may mean handing out glow sticks, pencils, glider airplanes, stickers, bubbles, yoyos or bookmarks instead of candy. Or, it may mean forgoing the trick or treaters to celebrate in another way, perhaps watching a horror movie with a friend or curling up with a scary book. For me, celebrating Halloween means spending time with my niece Georgia (on the left sporting one of her many princess costumes.)

Whatever you decide, it’s important to stay true to what you need to remain abstinent.