From pedestrian deaths to drunk driving, tricks and treats and spooky parties, Halloween can be a fun but dangerous time for teens. Here are some tips for both parents and teens for how to have a safe and fun Halloween!
Tips for Parents
1. Behavior – Halloween is a fun night but occasionally teenagers can behave differently at night, and with their friends. Discuss appropriate behavior in regard to treating everyone with respect, being polite, not bothering houses that are dark, and what to do if their friends aren’t acting in a way you would approve of (peer pressure is strong at this age).
2. Put reflective tape on their clothes and shoes so motorists can see them.
3. Avoid costumes with masks that can hamper their peripheral vision. This could lead to an accident crossing the street.
4. Girls should be in comfortable shoes so they don’t trip. Its also important for them to be able to run to get out of the way of a car or if they get into an uncomfortable situation.
5. Discuss with your teen where they can and cannot go.
6. Discuss who is allowed to drive – if it is their car, are you okay with one of their friends driving it, are you okay with them driving someone else’s car if they’re with a friend? Discuss possible scenarios that may occur.
7. Communication – telling you when they are leaving one location and where they are going next should be a must. Teens usually like to hit one neighborhood and then maybe travel to another friend’s neighborhood to trick or treat a bit longer. If you allow them to go to multiple places, have them tell you exactly where they are for safety purposes. Track their whereabouts with apps like Find Friends.
8. Give them a curfew and call in times when they need to check in with you.
8. If they are going to a party, speak to the parents to ensure it will be chaperoned.
9. Talk to your kids about vandalism and the repercussions of such behavior such as being arrested which can get them kicked out of school and jeopardize their future.
10. Tell them to be extra careful crossing the street because there could be intoxicated drivers on Halloween night.
11. If your kids are going to a party, tell them to keep an eye on their drink. Once they have put it down, they should not drink it again.
12. Make sure your kids know what to do if they see someone at a party who is intoxicated: Don’t leave them alone, know the signs of alcohol poisoning, help them get home safely, etc.
Tips for Teens
1. Always watch your drink at a party! Make sure you pour your own refreshments, and never leave your drink unattended.
2. Make sure your costume is functional. If you can’t walk well in heels, Halloween is not a good day to wear them! You should be able to move easily in your outfit, and it shouldn’t make it harder for you to get out of a crowd if a party is getting out of hand. No super-long or too-tight dresses, and wearing lighter colors is better for when you’re outside at night.
3. Be extra careful on the road. A lot of people drive drunk on October 31st, so even though you know not to drink and get behind the wheel, some other people aren’t as smart. Also watch out for kids in dark costumes that are out trick-or-treating. One might dart out into the street dressed in all black (Hey, some people think it’s a costume!), so drive slow enough to stop quickly.
4. If a friend is driving, make sure she’s sober and alert. Don’t let her drink and drive, and be conscious not to distract her from keeping her attention on the road. Screaming out the words to “Thriller” is fun, but take it down a notch to keep it safe!
5. If you go trick-or-treating, be smart: don’t eat any opened or unwrapped food or candy, and always wait outside.
6. If you’re hosting a party, be safe with decorations. Don’t use real candles (in or outside of pumpkins) if a room will be crowded – these can easily be knocked over. Even if you want that eerie Halloween vibe, make sure there is some lighting in every room so people can move easily.
7. Have a cell phone handy! In case you get separated from friends or need a parent to pick you up, don’t forget to bring your cell along. It might not go with your pixie costume, but it’s the best thing to have around in an emergency.
8. Don’t go into anyone’s home alone, and stay in a group. If you go trick or treating, go in a group. If you are at a party, make sure you know where your friends are. Make sure you know the signs of alcohol poisoning and help your friends get home safely.