Who says dressing up, carving pumpkins, and eating candy is just for kids? Halloween is one of the most popular holidays of the year among teens and adults, too! It’s important to pay attention to your surroundings and use your best judgment at any college party, but take special precautions when people will be in costume and possibly consuming alcohol.
Remember these Halloween safety tips this October 31:
1. Choose your Halloween costume wisely. If you’re going to dress up, be sure to wear something that you can move in. Sky-high heels and too-tight dresses can restrict your movement. Masks and wigs can accidentally cover your eyes, impairing your vision.
2. Obey laws, rules, and regulations. Whether you are going out in public, staying on campus, or heading to a party in an apartment complex, follow the rules. You don’t want to get arrested, kicked out of school, or injured!
3. Watch your drink. If you’re going to drink, do so responsibly. Never accept a beverage—beer, cocktail, or even water or soda—from someone you don’t know. Never leave your drink unattended. If you step away for even a few seconds, get a new beverage. Someone with harmful intentions could slip something into your cup or bottle in the blink of an eye.
4. Know your limits. You don’t have to be drunk to have a good time on Halloween. Binge drinking is dangerous and can lead to much bigger problems than throwing up on your costume and waking up with a hangover the next morning.
5. Don’t drink and drive. Never ever drink and drive. Never accept a ride from someone that has been drinking, even if they’ve “only had a couple beers” or say they’re “only buzzed, not drunk.” If you’re a designated driver, be extra careful on the roads. Other people who didn’t choose a DD may be breaking the law and driving while intoxicated, putting themselves as well as you and your friends in danger.
6. Decorate safely. Are you the party host? Make sure valuables and breakables are put away safely. Light your jack o’ lanterns with glow sticks instead of real candles, which are a fire hazard.
7. Use the buddy system. Don’t go to a Halloween party without a good friend. Make a pact to arrive and leave together, and keep tabs on each other all evening. If you must walk home after dark, walk with at least one other person and stay on a well-lit path. Calling campus security for a ride or hailing a cab might be a safer option.
8. Know the people you’re with. It can be tempting to tag along with friends of friends to someone’s Halloween party or even a bar or club, but being around people you don’t know very well could put you in danger.
9. Be kind but cautious. College can be an incredibly social place, but be on your toes when meeting new people who are wearing costumes, especially outfits that hide their faces or change their voices. That person might have ill intentions.
10. Keep your phone on. Be sure your phone is fully charged before you go out for the night and make sure the volume is turned on in case a friend is trying to reach you. Don’t let your phone out of your sight—it could save you in case of emergency.
11. Carry emergency cash. Keep cash tucked inside your pocket or costume. It could wind up being cab fare or other emergency money.
12. Trust your instincts. On Halloween or any other night, if something “just doesn’t feel right” trust your gut instinct. Leave the party, don’t accept the drink, or just say no to whatever it is that’s making you uncomfortable. Your safety is more important than a party or possibly upsetting a friend.
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.