I am, for all intents and purposes, a spooky bitch. The ultimate spooky bitch some may say. Halloween is honestly for me just the most wonderful time of the year. The weather turns colder and the leaves warmer. The big jumpers come out paired with the even bigger boots. Soups, warm bread and stews. Pumpkin lanterns lit with soft tealights. Cinnamon spiced coffees (pumpkins are not spicy folks) and dark evenings in. And, in the past, a great excuse to add Baileys to pretty much anything hot or, sometimes, cold.
Red wine by the pub fire. Whiskey, hot, with honey. Spiced rum. Bottles of red covered in blankets on the sofa. Beers with pizza and horror films. Crazy Halloween themed gigs, tequila shots, metal bands and stumbling around in fishnets, animal ears and fake blood. Drinking to stay warm, drinking to feel festive and drinking to fight off the blues as the evenings get darker.
So this year it already looks pretty damn different in the weird world we are living in. Masks that were once playful are now mandatory. The huge Halloween ragers that took up two to three weekends of my October are a pipe dream. Trick or treating that’s supposed to be funny and whimsical is now socially irresponsible. This may be the first Halloween little kids in fairy wings get bundled into the back of police cars (the evil part of my brain thinks that could actually be really funny). It’s all a bit Black Mirror right now lets be honest. Made worse by the fact this was THE Halloween. Saturday night. Full Moon. THE. ONE. But it’s up in the air, dystopian and strange. And that’s not even considering that I’m actually sober….first sober halloween…in a global pandemic. Christ on a bike.
A normal Halloween for me is the definition of a ‘high risk situation’. Triggers are defined as “the cause of something”, in the context of this blog this is drinking rather than chocolate chip cookies or sex (though both are wildly appealing right now). A trigger for me can be anything from an internal feeling of worry, to the external sight of a sophisticated woman sat with a glass of red. Both make my head go straight to the whole “maybe you can just have one” song and dance (yes there’s a dance now). High risk situations are events or places that contain a number of triggers, what ever they may be for the person specifically. For example:-
Triggers: pub, music, other people drinking, the smell of mulled cider, celebration, feeling cold, feeling tired, being dressed up, feeling nervous, socialising, feeling nervous about socialising…you get the idea.
High risk situation: A bloody night out for Halloween! (god dammit).
It’s one of the few occasions where the COVID world we live in may actually be doing me a favour. This year Halloween would have been fucking carnage. It would have been all kinds of ridiculousness. I had four parties to go to before the virus stepped in and put it’s foot down. And they would have been messy. The kind of 4 am, taking mirrors off the walls, empty bottles of spirits kinda parties that made me excited and fearful in equal measure, even before I quit drinking. So maybe this is a good thing. If I’m honest a big part of me feels I would rather have struggled at a great party then find sobriety easy on a dull evening in, but in the general theme of ‘focusing-on-what-I-can-control’ it’s probably going to end up being an easier ride overall.
So here’s some good things that I can think of about a sober Halloween:
- My intricate three hour face paint/FX make up (I told you I was extra) will likely actually stay in place… well assuming the facemask I have to wear doesn’t rub it off…so maybe scratch that.
- I can dance around and sing to a band with out being drunk….oh no wait it’s against the law…never mind.
- Ok so sober doesn’t have a ‘bed time’ and at least I get to stay out late and party like I used to…oh nope pubs close at 10pm…ok maybe plan B then…..
- I could try and pull a pumpkin of some kind, that might pumpkin spice up the evening…nope sex with people from outside your household is now illegal (because THAT doesn’t make it hot!).
…. NEXT Halloween. I’m going to count NEXT Halloween as my first proper sober Halloween.
I never thought that the first time I would get genuinely angry at the pandemic would be because I’m not allowed to go out dressed like a twat until the early hours of the morning. But it’s also kind of reassuring. There’s a big part of me that was worried that…well…a big part of me would disappear when I stopped drinking. That I wouldn’t be me any more. As much as I hate to admit it drinking was a big part of my identity, my personality even, and I’m still learning what that means for me moving forwards in a dry life. It turns out being sober doesn’t change who I am, I am still a spooky bitch who want’s to go out and be irresponsible in daft face paint, booze or no booze, and I’m keeping that.
So I’m planning a face mask friendly full face of spook and figuring out how to mull something alcohol free.
Tea. Turns out that’s tea.