While Halloween has long been known as a holiday for children, millions of adults participate in the festivities with their own parties that often include alcohol. This year, with Halloween Friday night, the Automobile Club of Southern California reminds adults attending costume parties to select a designated sober driver prior to enjoying Halloween gatherings.
This year the National Retail Federation (NRF) says it expects a record number of consumers to enjoy Halloween activities, including “Trick or Treating” and going to parties since the observance falls on a weekend evening. More than one-third will host or attend a party. Homeowners giving out candy anddrivers can expect to see millions of children dressed as characters from Frozen as well as animals, teenage mutant ninja turtles, princesses and Spiderman. About 75 million adults are expected to dress up as animals, Batman characters, pirates and witches, according to the NRF.
“Halloween partygoers must remember to make finding a safe and sober ride home as important, if not more important, as finding the right costume,” said Anita Lorz Villagrana, the Auto Club’s community programs and traffic safety manager. “Adults should select a designated driver before attending Halloween festivities. Party hosts could offer designated drivers special prizes and could also plan for guests to stay overnight.”
In 2012 in California, 17 percent of drivers in fatal and injury crashes on Halloween night (6 p.m. Oct. 31 to 6 a.m. Nov. 1) had been drinking. That’s more than three times the usual rate (of 5.6 percent) for drinking and driving during that year, according to CHP statistics analyzed by the Auto Club.
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 are 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.