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How to Stay Safe on Halloween

On college campuses, fall is coveted for many reasons: football, hayrides, comfy sweaters— and Halloween, especially. This is a time for planning costumes, carving pumpkins, infamous lattes, and, of course, parties. Whether a small gathering of friends, costume parties, or a long night (or weekend!) of frat-hopping, many college students anticipate Halloween parties all year long. Though this weekend is sure to bring so much fun, evidence shows that crime rates could also spike. Some researchers suggest violent crime increases of up to 50 percent. We all want to have a fun, carefree night with our friends— but there are precautions that you should take to make sure you stay safe.

First, make a plan before you leave for the night. When planning your costume, make sure that you can be recognized and that your face can be seen. This is really important in the event of an emergency, when someone may need to be able to describe you or see if you are responsive. In addition, try to stay away from realistic weapons if your costume requires them. In the event of a crime or even if the party is being shut down, the police may be present and intoxicated people don’t make the smartest choices. If you or someone near you decides to mess around with fake weapons, this could cause confusion with law enforcement.

If you are going out in a group, make sure to have everyone’s phone numbers, not just social media, to make sure that you can contact someone if you don’t have data or wifi available. This will ensure that you stay together and know what to do in case anyone gets separated. Also, make sure to bring a portable charger with you to keep your phone charged in the event of an emergency. It’s also a good idea to put the numbers of campus resources in your phone before going out. Shuttle services, campus police, and other resources could come in handy.

We all know some basic rules for attending parties, but Halloween brings some special concerns. Because people will more than likely be wearing costumes, some may be emboldened to commit crimes like robbery and assault because they cannot be recognized. Though not everyone wearing a mask is a criminal, it is an important theory to keep in mind. In addition, costumes do not equal consent. Whether a girl is dressed as a Playboy Bunny or a guy as Magic Mike, no one’s clothing ever determines their willingness to have sexual encounters. It is crucial to always ask for consent and understand that consent cannot be given when under the influence of alcohol.

Just like at any party, make sure you are never alone and never go somewhere with someone you do not know. If you’re visiting an unfamiliar campus, or a part of campus that you don’t know well, have someone with you who does or use Maps to find your way around. People also tend to drink more on Halloween, so make sure that you know your limits and do not push them. Also, do not leave your drink unattended or with someone you do not know, or who is too intoxicated to properly watch after it.

Finally, if you or a friend does drink too much, is assaulted while intoxicated, or believes that their drink has been drugged, you can be protected under Michigan Medical Amnesty. This law allows for minors in possession of alcohol or under the influence of alcohol to receive protection when seeking medical attention for themselves or for their friends. In addition, the Michigan Good Samaritan law will provide immunity for those seeking medical attention for themselves or others under the influence of illegal drugs. Never be afraid to ask for help, even if you’re unsure if it is truly an emergency. Your health and safety are the most important.

The most important part of Halloween is having fun. So drink some cider, wear a cute costume, stay warm, and stay safe. Happy Halloween, witches!

 

Emma Helrigel is a freshman at Michigan State University majoring in social work. In her free time she enjoys taking unnecessarily long naps, writing poetry, getting caught up on the most recent political events, and forgetting to stay hydrated.
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