Dressing up as your favorite princess or superhero on October 31 is a childhood tradition, but teens and adults dont want to be left out of the fun, either.
Not only are we thinking about costumes and buying candy sooner than ever, more Americans will be having a ghoulishly good time this year than ever beforethe National Retail Federation found that a record 170 million people plan on celebrating Halloween 2012. (Oh, and despite the bad economy, the average person plans on spending around $80 on costumes, candy and decorations.)
If youll be dressing up and hitting the Halloween parties, always remember that some people play tricks that arent so treat-like. You dont want to become a real ghost, so celebrate safe with this Halloween safety advice:
1. Never go out alone. Parents have been reminding their kids to travel in groups on Halloween for decades, and the advice holds true for high school and college students, too. Avoid walking down poorly-lit streets and areas of campus after dark. Sidewalks are for pedestriansuse them. Dont stroll down the middle of the street just because you havent seen any cars yet.
2. Watch your drink. If youre of legal drinking age never accept a drink from someone that you dont know. Better yet, mix your own drinks at parties. Dont ever leave your cup unattendedif you set it down for a few minutes and forget and walk away, get a new drink. (Some people only drink bottled beverages that they opened themselves because someone could easily spike the already-opened bottles of sodas, mixers, or even liquor.)
3. Watch the roads. First things firstdont ever drink and drive! Alcohol is present at most Halloween parties that arent kid-centric; so if at all possible, dont get behind the wheel on Halloween night. Dont ever allow a friend to get behind the wheel if theyve been drinking. If you absolutely must drive somewhere, be extra careful. Even though you know that you shouldnt drink and drive, other people are not so smart and arent obeying that law.
4. Only wear a costume that allows you to move normally. Halloween is a great time to let yourself have fun, but if your dress is so long youre tripping over itor so short and tight that youre constantly yanking it downwardthe simple act of getting around becomes a chore. If youre going to wear heels, make sure you can actually walk in them. If glasses, sunglasses, or goggles are part of your costume, make sure you can see!
5. Speaking of make sure you can see, even though changing the color of your eyes might sound like a great addition to your Halloween costume, dont ever wear contacts that you didnt purchase from and eye doctor or licensed optical center. Decorative or Halloween contact lenses can cause serious eye damage and even blindness.
6. Dont carry toy weapons. For your own safety and the safety of others, dont carry toy weapons that could easily be confused for the real thing.
7. Ask for ID. If youre stopped by law enforcement, campus security, or any other type of official, always ask for official identification. Someone wearing a realistic-looking costume—and carrying a realistic toy weapon, see above!—could be posing as a police officer.
8. Carry your phone at all times. It might not go with your Nicki Minaj costume or Catwoman suit, but your phone will be your lifeline if you get separated from your friends. A simple Where did you go? or Come get me now! text could literally save your life.
9. Know your surroundings. Dont go to parties at a friend of a friend of a friends house. Stick to places youre familiar and comfortable with. Halloween night isnt the best time to go out exploring unknown territories.
10. Find out who is crashing at your place. If your roommates are having friends spend the night, find out who they are. Its easier for unwelcome guests to go unnoticed on Halloween night, when most people are in costume.
Whatever your costume may be this Halloween, always use your best judgment and stay safe!
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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