Safety 101: Mosaic’s guide to staying safe during Halloweekend
In college, Halloween isn’t one night of trick-or-treating anymore. A magical night where ghouls, goblins and neighborhood children scour the streets for candy turns into a four-or-more-day, booze-fueled extravaganza: Halloweekend.
So for university students, while Halloween may be full of fun festivities such as costume parties, haunted houses and trick-or-treating, it is also home to a number of safety hazards. Drunk driving, sexual assault, alcohol poisoning and robbery are just a few of the risks that may occur at a higher frequency during Halloweekend. According to oxygen.com, each year during the Halloween festivities, hundreds are arrested for drunken behavior, shootings and assaults over the holiday. Insurance claims over the holiday increase by 24 percent, according to USA Today, due to theft and vandalism.
The university claimed the No. 1 spot on The Princeton Review’s list of the Top 20 Party Schools in America at the start of the academic year. With Halloweekend and Homecoming Weekend smashed into one, this weekend will be filled to the cauldron’s brim with frat parties, Halloween parties and bar crawls. Even though it is commonplace to drink and have a good time during Halloweekend and Homecoming Weekend, there are precautions university students can take in order to stay safe.
Listed below are some tips to surviving Halloweekend in order to return to the comfort of your own bed. While some of these precautions may be deemed “common sense,” it is important to remain vigilant.
Use the buddy system: Travel in groups and never stray away from the pack. This means if you arrive with a group, make sure you stay with your group. If one member strays from the group, check up on them. Never leave anyone alone at a party.
Fully charge your cell phone: Before leaving your dorm room, apartment or house, make sure your cell phone is fully charged. If possible, carry around a portable battery charger, especially if your cell phone’s battery easily loses charge.
Download the LiveSafe app: You can use the LiveSafe app to contact the University of Delaware Police (UDPD). Other smart steps to take are familiarizing yourself with the blue light phone system and saving UDPD’s non-emergency police and general information number, (302) 831-2222.
Drink responsibly (if you are over the age of 21) and know your limit: University students typically like to binge drink or partake in drinking games, easily putting their blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. If you are aware that your limit is two drinks, only drink two drinks and walk away.
Be bright (literally): Wearing brightly colored clothing or costumes allows university students to easily be seen while walking around during Halloweekend.
If you see something, say something: Report any dangerous activity to the UDPD or the Newark Police Department.
Medical Amnesty and Alcohol Amnesty are your friends: According to the Office of Student Conduct (OSC), if assistance is sought in cases of intoxication or overdose, the OSC will not pursue conduct charges against university students for violations of the Alcohol Policy or Drug Policy. Alcohol Amnesty applies to survivors of sexual misconduct, granting amnesty to university students who may have violated the Code of Conduct Alcohol Policy when they became a survivor of sexual misconduct. No alcohol charges are applied to university students who report that they were intoxicated when the instance of sexual misconduct took place.
Hold your friends accountable for sexual misconduct
Avoid wearing dark blue or black clothing: These clothing options make it hard to be seen in poorly lit areas.
Leave the heels at home: Don’t try out those six-inch spike heels for the first time because potholes, sidewalks and road hazards are hard to navigate in the darkness.
Don’t sample unfamiliar treats: Be mindful of your food allergies.
Drink defensively: Do not allow anyone to make a drink for you, do not abandon your drink and do not leave your drink unattended. Date-rape drugs such as Rohypnol are undetectable to the human eye. When in doubt, throw it out.
Don’t hitchhike: Don’t hitch rides with strangers to a party, only travel with individuals you are familiar with. Attending an off-campus party with an unfamiliar individual(s) is a huge no-no.
Trick or treating: If you go trick or treating, do not eat unwrapped candy. Always thoroughly check your candy before eating it.
These are just a few do’s and don’ts for Halloweekend. But most importantly, celebrate during Halloweekend and Homecoming Weekend. Enjoy yourself. You deserve it.
Stay safe and Happy Halloween!