Well, it’s not quite Halloween, but it’s the Saturday before, which means a lot of people will be out and about in costumes and looking to party. As you run around your town, city, or campus dressed like a unicorn, we have some safety tips to keep in mind.
Before the party, make a plan!
- Make plans to go to the party with friends, and discuss whether you want to leave together. Maybe someone is going out to meet a date, or has no interest in coming home with someone else. Communicate this with your friends before you go out so you’re all on the same page.
- Eat something substantial before you go out, and make plans to snack again at some point during the night.
- Choose a designated driver before you go out.
At the party, be aware!
- Know your limits with alcohol. It’s easy to get carried away when everyone else is drinking, but be aware of how much you’re drinking and how it’s affecting you.
- Hydrate! Be sure to drink water throughout the night. No, the ice in your vodka tonic doesn’t count as drinking water.
- Keep an eye on your drink. If you put it down, get a new one. If someone offers to buy you a drink, go with them to the bar and take it from the bartender.
- Watch out for your friends and how much they’ve had to drink. We’re not saying you should have to babysit your friends, but be aware of how much you’ve all had to drink. Have some phrases ready if you need to be an active bystander and pull your friends out of a situation. For example, “Let’s get pizza!,” “Come help me fix my costume!,” “Cinderella is a pumpkin, let’s go home.”
- Know that your friends might be doing the same thing for you! You’d want someone to tell you if you had food in your teeth, right? Your friends have your best intentions in mind and might be trying to pull you out of a dangerous situation, they’re not trying to be a jerky cockblock.
After the party, be smart!
- Where are your friends? Did you all stick to the plan?
- Never, ever drive after you’ve been drinking. If you are the sober designated driver, be aware that others on the road might not be sober.
- Call a cab! Plan to walk! A little fresh air never hurt anyone, but be sure to walk with friends and through familiar areas.
- If it’s sexytime, respect your partner’s sexual limits. REMEMBER, it’s much harder to get consent and know you’ve gotten consent when alcohol is involved. Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy. But here’s my number, call me in the morning (when I’m not covered in beer and facepaint).
- If you and your partner decide to have sex, use protection and make sure it stays consensual throughout. If you’re not sure, don’t do it.
- Drink more water before bed, maybe make yourself some late-night nachos.
The next day..
- Did everyone get home safely?
- Reevaluate your drinking from the night before. Are there lapses in your memory, were you in control all night?
- Rehydrate and replenish vitamins lost, especially B vitamins. Water, gatorade and coconut water are great rehydrators.
- Did something happen that you didn’t want to happen? If you’re on a college campus, you can call your college’s counseling center, talk to your RA, or talk to a friend. You can find some on-campus resources here. You can also call national support hotlines, including Maine-based SARSSM.
Remember, celebrating Halloween (or going out any night) is about having fun. Making a plan before you go out and sticking to it, checking in with yourself and your friends, and being safe after the party are all great ways to make sure you have a fun, memorable and safe night.
So, here’s to you, politically-themed or socially-conscious Halloween costumers, have fun and be safe!