Dressing up as your favorite princess or superhero on October 31 is a childhood tradition, but teens and adults don’t 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 before—the 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 you’ll be dressing up and hitting the Halloween parties, always remember that some people play tricks that aren’t so treat-like. You don’t 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 pedestrians—use them. Don’t stroll down the middle of the street just because you haven’t seen any cars yet.
2. Watch your drink. If you’re of legal drinking age … never accept a drink from someone that you don’t know. Better yet, mix your own drinks at parties. Don’t ever leave your cup unattended—if 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 first—don’t ever drink and drive! Alcohol is present at most Halloween parties that aren’t kid-centric; so if at all possible, don’t get behind the wheel on Halloween night. Don’t ever allow a friend to get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking. If you absolutely must drive somewhere, be extra careful. Even though you know that you shouldn’t drink and drive, other people are not so smart and aren’t 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 you’re tripping over it—or so short and tight that you’re constantly yanking it downward—the simple act of getting around becomes a chore. If you’re 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, don’t ever wear contacts that you didn’t purchase from and eye doctor or licensed optical center. Decorative or Halloween contact lenses can cause serious eye damage and even blindness.
6. Don’t carry toy weapons. For your own safety and the safety of others, don’t carry toy weapons that could easily be confused for the real thing.
7. Ask for ID. If you’re 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. Don’t go to parties at a friend of a friend of a friend’s house. Stick to places you’re familiar and comfortable with. Halloween night isn’t 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. It’s 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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