Every year, before heading out to trick-or-treat, children are reminded of ‘stranger danger.’ Parents are warned to look out for tampered candy and drivers are told to be extra cautious of pedestrians roaming the streets.
Although many college-aged students have long since traded their buckets of candy for alcoholic beverages at house parties on Halloween, there are other warnings to also be aware of.
Long Beach State Police Department Captain John Brockie said that his team sees a “definite uptick” in calls on Halloween related to alcohol and drug use.
“Sometimes people partake a little too much and we get medical calls because they are intoxicated and to the level that they need medical assistance,” Brockie said.
According to a 2019 study by the American Addiction Centers, men ages 20 to 24 consume an average of four drinks on Halloween night, while women in the same age range consume an average of 2.9 drinks. Over 15% of people in this group were reported to have blacked out while celebrating, which occurs as a result of binge drinking.
These statistics are a cause for concern as it can take just two to four drinks for someone’s blood alcohol concentration to reach above the legal driving limit of 0.08%.
According to the “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” campaign by the United States Department of Transportation, during Halloween night between 2015 to 2019, there were a total of 126 people killed in drunk-driving crashes in the U.S. The campaign also reported that on Halloween 2019, drunk-driving fatalities among adults ages 21 to 34 reached new highs at 62%.
It is important for students to be aware of all the dangers surrounding alcohol consumption on Halloween. For those who have plans to join in on the festivities, Captain Brockie provided a few tips for CSULB students to stay safe.
Celebrate with known and trustworthy people
To best ensure one’s safety on Halloween night, students should only be going out with close friends or family they trust. It’s really not safe to go out alone, especially if one is not familiar with the place or people there.
“You need to actually know the people you are going out with,” Claire Pupping, a fifth-year studio art major at CSULB, said.
If students plan to go out in a large group, it is recommended that they implement a buddy system to ensure that no one is ever alone.
Keep an eye on your drink
Captain Brockie says that students should not accept drinks from people they don’t know. Drink spiking is very common, and with all the alcohol consumed on Halloween, it is important to be aware of the fact.
Students should only accept and consume drinks from friends or family they trust or drinks that they opened and served themselves.
Students who go to an event and choose to not drink, should keep an eye out on friends and be aware of the symptoms of drink spiking.
Plan ahead and be aware of your surroundings
If students know that they will be drinking on Halloween, they should make sure to plan ahead. Students who are out with a group of friends, can either make plans for someone to be the designated driver or they can arrange for someone they know to pick them up.
Another thing they can do is to use a rideshare service or take public transportation.
“If you plan to drink you can easily get an Uber or Lyft,” said Natalie Cabral, a first-year fashion merchandising major. “Not only for your safety but for the safety of others.”
Driving sober during Halloween night can be dangerous as well. Obscure costumes, people running across the street and drunk drivers are a big issue. Students should be cautious and report drivers they believe are drunk.
While these tips can help students stay safe on their Halloween ventures, it is important to note that danger is unpredictable, and it can arise at any moment. Prior to heading out to the festivities, students should be aware of the many resources available on and off-campus, in case of concerns or an emergency.
Emergency: call 9-1-1
CSULB University Police Department: Non-Emergency Line: 562-985-4101
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): Phone: 562-985-4001
Sexual Assault Crisis Agency: (877) 943-5778