Halloween has become one of the biggest holidays of the year, celebrated by children, youths and adults alike.
With October 31 falling on a Friday this year, it is expected to be a big party night for adults. Unfortunately, that increases the frightening prospect of party-goers drinking and driving.
The Florida Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies routinely participate in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign during the Halloween weekend. The campaign involves increased patrols and checkpoints that are designed to discourage drunk or drugged individuals from driving.
There are good reasons for the campaign, including:
- Halloween ranks second only to Christmas in terms of dollars spent on drinking, according to ServingAlcohol.com, an organization for bartenders, waiters and waitresses.
- The National Retail Federation has projected record spending for Halloween 2014, with 33.4 percent of adults planning to throw or attend a Halloween party this year (up from 30.9 percent last year).
- Fifty-one percent of all crash fatalities on Halloween night involve a drunken motor vehicle driver or motorcycle operator, according to the NHTSA.
At Frank M. Eidson, P.A., we want you to be safe this Halloween, regardless of how you celebrate.
If You Are Driving …
- Stay alert – especially between the hours of 5:30 and 9:30 p.m. Residential areas are likely to be more crowded than usual with trick-or-treaters during those hours.
- Slow down – and watch for pedestrians, especially children who may be excited and dart into the street. Also, watch between cars that are parked on the street.
- Before you leave for an event that includes drinking, plan a way to get home safely at the end of the night. Designate someone to remain sober and drive.
If You Are Trick-or-Treating …
- Make sure masks, costumes and shoes fit well. Avoid any costume that blocks one’s vision or causes trips and falls.
- Walk, don’t run. Put phones and other electronic devices down and keep your head up as you walk.
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
- Cross the street at corners, looking both ways and using traffic signals and crosswalks.
- If you are a parent, accompany your trick-or-treaters, especially if they are younger than age 12. Older kids who want to trick-and-treat should travel in groups. Stick to familiar areas that are well lit.
- Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them.
If You Are Partying …
- Don’t leave a drink unattended at a bar – someone could spike it.
- Don’t leave a purse, wallet, phone or other valuables where others can get to them.
- If someone at a bar or public party is bothering you with unwanted attention, ask a waitress or waiter to notify security.
- If you need help getting a cab, ask a waitress, waiter, bartender or host. They should be happy to call one for you.
If You Are Hosting a Party or Trick-or-Treaters …
- Make sure walkways and stairs at your home are well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause falls.
- Put candle-lit jack o’lanterns and luminaria on sturdy tables out of the reach of small children and pets. Do not put them near doorsteps, walkways, landings or curtains. Never leave them unattended.
- Offer guests offer a choice of fruits, vegetables, and cheeses along with other treats.
- Offer guests who have had too much to drink a ride home, a call for a cab or a place to stay for the night.
If you would like more tips about Halloween safety, please check out the following sources: