While Halloween has been long a holiday for children, millions of adults participate in the festivities with costumes and parties that typically include alcohol. This year, with Halloween falling on a weekday, the Automobile Club of Southern California reminds adults attending “weekend before” parties to designate a sober driver or plan a sober ride home using taxis, ride-hailing companies or buses prior to joining Halloween gatherings. Those celebrating at Halloween community events at malls, festivals or “trunk-or-treating” parking lots should abstain from alcoholic beverages if behind-the-wheel.
More than 69 percent say they will celebrate Halloween, and more than one-third will throw or attend a Halloween party, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Homeowners giving out candy can expect to see children dressed as Batman, cats and dogs, characters from Frozen and Star Wars, minions, superheroes, vampires and zombies. Adults are dressing up as animals, Batman characters, Star Wars characters, pirates, “slasher” movie villains, videogame characters, witches and zombies as well, said the NRF.
“Halloween partygoers need to plan for a ride home without getting behind the wheel. There are many options for adults attending Halloween festivities today to plan for a sober ride or a sober driver like taxis, ride services, buses 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 prizes 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 the roadways safe on the spookiest night of the year, 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 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.
- 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.