Halloween is the quintessential occasion for college students nationwide, to coordinate costumes with their friends, indulge in parties or pub crawls, forget about upcoming exams or term papers, and simply let those good times roll.
However, this lighthearted holiday does not come without its share of potential safety risks. Assault, alcohol poisoning and illegal substance ingestion can sometimes run rampant around college campuses during Halloween. Not only are these threats probable, but oftentimes they occur at higher rates than the average student might realize.
The following tips will equip you with the knowledge and ability to take precautionary measures against these hazards, while still ensuring an enjoyable and memorable Halloween experience.
Stay Alert and Do Not Accept Handouts
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 35 of every 1,000 female college students, will be sexually assaulted each year. Halloween costume parties can provide the ideal atmosphere for perpetrators to target their victims, and 9 out of 10 women personally know their attacker. You should never, under any circumstance, accept alcohol handouts. If you'd rather avoid perceived rudeness, take the beverage in question then, privately throw it away.
Go with a Group and Leave with the Same Group
If you and your friends attend a Halloween party together, try and remain as a unit throughout the festivities. Discourage any group members from venturing off alone, but if someone is adamant about doing so, make sure everyone else knows this person's general whereabouts. Also, be sure to designate a central meeting point after the party.
Eat and Hydrate Properly Before the Party
When preparing to consume alcohol, especially in large quantities, remember to eat sufficient meals and drink water throughout the day. Adequate nourishment will help your body stave off intense blood alcohol level spikes once you begin drinking. Additionally, this can minimize hangover symptoms the next morning.
Listen to Your Body and Know Your Physical Limits
When your tolerance level has reached its breaking point, resist the urge to keep drinking. If your body is pushed over the edge, you'll risk side-effects like impaired judgment and extreme physical discomforts. Not sure whether you've reached your limits? Learn the signs of alcohol poisoning, courtesy of the University of Texas.
Never Walk By Yourself After Dark
Enlist a friend or significant other to accompany you when wandering around campus and surrounding areas at night. If walking alone absolutely cannot be avoided, text your friends afterward to assure them you've arrived home safely. Another option is keeping campus security's number on-hand, just in case you require protection on your return home.
Whenever You Feel Uncomfortable, Get Out
Anytime you experience unease at a party, or suspect that you've entered a compromising situation, listen to your instincts, grab a trusted friend and leave the premises. If people question your decision, blame the departure on sudden illness, an early morning work-shift or another plausible excuse.
Avoid Costumes that Make You Unrecognizable
Wearing a Halloween mask in considered illegal throughout several states -- and for good reason. These costume accessories can cause confusion when regrouping with your friends after hours of alcohol consumption. Masks are also notorious for obstructing a wearer's vision, which could make you more likely to lose sight of familiar faces in a large crowd.
Make Sure Your Phone is Fully Charged
If you're intoxicated and need help getting back home, you could become stranded if your cell phone battery runs low. Don't risk losing your primary form of communication just because you forgot to plan ahead.
Halloween provides the ideal backdrop for friends to unwind over drinks, music and creative costumes. However, keep in mind that some partygoers might not always have the most honorable of intentions. But if you implement these tips, and exercise common sense, you're likely to be safe.
This post originally appeared on the Sabre blog. Reprinted with permission.