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 on Saturday night, the Automobile Club of Southern California reminds adults attending parties to select a designated sober driver or plan a sober ride home using taxis, ride-hailing companies or buses prior to joining Halloween gatherings.
Approximately 64 percent of respondents to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey say they will celebrate Halloween, and more than one-third will throw or attend a Halloween party. Homeowners giving out candy can expect to see children dressed as Batman, characters from Frozen and Star Wars, minions, princesses, pumpkins and zombies. Adults are dressing up as Star Wars characters, witches and zombies as well, according to the NRF.
“Halloween partygoers need to plan for a ride home without getting behind the wheel. There are many options for adults today to designate a sober driver or use alternatives before attending Halloween festivities,” said Anita Lorz Villagrana, the Auto Club’s community programs and traffic safety manager. “And party hosts could offer designated drivers’ non-alcoholic mocktails, prizes and anticipate guests’ need to spend the night.”
Police agencies are deploying extra officers Halloween night to supplement regular patrols on one of the most deadly nights of the year. 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.
Across the U.S., 43 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night from 2009 to 2013 were in crashes involving a drunk driver, 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.