While Halloween has typically meant children trick-or-treating, millions of adults also participate in the festivities with parties that typically include alcohol. This year, with Halloween falling on a weekday, the Automobile Club of Southern California reminds adults attending Halloween parties this weekend and on Tuesday to designate a sober driver or plan a sober ride home using a designated driver, ride-hailing company or public transit. Those celebrating at Halloween community events at malls, festivals or “trunk-or-treating” parking lots should abstain from alcoholic beverages if they are driving.
More than 89 percent say they will celebrate Halloween by attending a party, taking kids out trick-or-treating or visiting a haunted house, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Homeowners giving out candy can expect to see children dressed as animals, movie characters and superheroes, vampires and zombies. Adults are dressing up this year as animals, Batman, television characters, pirates, Wonder Woman, witches and zombies, said the NRF.
“Halloween partygoers should plan ahead and determine a sober ride or sober driver to return home. There are many options for adults attending Halloween festivities today like using a designated driver or ride app service, transit and other alternatives,” said Anita Lorz Villagrana, the Auto Club’s community programs and traffic safety manager. “Party hosts could offer designated drivers non-alcoholic mocktails, special gifts and anticipate guests’ need to spend the night.”
Police agencies are deploying more officers Halloween night to supplement regular patrols on one of the most deadly nights of the year. Halloween is a particularly deadly night due to drunk drivers. In 2015, more than half (52%) of all highway fatalities across the nation on Halloween night (6 p.m. Oct. 31 to 5:59 a.m. Nov. 1) involved a driver or a motorcycle rider with a BAC of .08 or higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Children out trick-or-treating and the parents accompanying them are also at risk, as 19 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes on Halloween night (2009-2013) involved drunk drivers.
To keep roadways safe this weekend and also on Halloween night, the Auto Club offers partygoers these tips:
- Designate a sober driver; don’t drive if you’ve been drinking.
- If you have been drinking, call a cab, ride app or have a sober friend or relative drive you home.
- If you cannot find a safe ride home, stay where you are until you are completely sober.
- If you’re hosting a party, make sure your guests do not drive impaired.
- Don’t serve anyone under 21 alcoholic beverages. It’s against the law.
- When driving, be sure to watch your speed. Motorists should slow down as they drive through neighborhood areas, preferably five miles per hour less than the posted speed limit.
And Auto Club tips for parents and children:
- Watch carefully for children crossing the street. Children may not be paying attention to traffic and might cross mid-block or between parked cars. Motorists should scan far ahead in traffic to watch for children and try to anticipate their actions.
- Look out for children in dark clothing. Children may be difficult to see if they are wearing dark costumes or masks. Be aware that masks may hinder a child’s peripheral vision, and they may not be able to see a vehicle.
- Pay close attention to all traffic signs, signals and markings.