Halloween dangers lead to caution amongst students
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
For most UTEP students, the days of childhood trick-or-treating around neighborhood streets in pursuit of candy are gone. For college students the greatest terrors on Halloween may not be witches or ghosts, but the consequences of reckless driving or alcohol consumption.
According to the American Automobile Association, federal numbers show motor vehicle fatalities increase an average of 30 percent when Halloween falls on a weekend, and more than half of those are alcohol related. Raymundo Rodriguez, assistant chief of the UTEP Police Department said that though Halloween will fall on a Wednesday this year, it is likely that local clubs will be hosting parties the following Saturday, and the danger remains present.
“Once midterms pass students want to relieve stress, but when you have Halloween parties everybody tends to get inebriated, and then they forget that they still have to go home,” Rodriguez said. “When you balance it out, there are more bad things that can come from drinking than good. You can go to jail, get in an accident, or you could even kill someone. Even if you just have one drink, you never know. If you only weigh 90 pounds or haven’t eaten it can be very dangerous. You need to get a designated driver or a taxi. Do not risk it.”
According to Rey Chavez, guard at the university police department, Halloween is one of those situations when students need to step up as young adults and look out for each other. He stressed the importance of allocating one person to remain sober all night and keep an eye on everyone else.
“If any of my friends need a ride from a place, like a bar or something on Halloween, I would be more than glad to pick them up to ensure not only the safety of others, but more importantly the safety of my friends,” said Michael Vasquez, junior engineering major. “I have had to do that before and it never hurts to have a plan if drinking does happen.”
Another issue for college students on Halloween is driving when so many children are out at night trick-or-treating. Rodriguez believes that even if you are sober you need to practice vigilance when driving on Halloween night.
“Sometimes students stay at the library late, and some have to drive home off campus. They need (to be) careful with the kids, especially on Montwood, Mesa, Lee Trevino or George Dieter because these kids are so excited they don’t watch, they just cross,” Rodriguez said. “Most of these kids should already be home by 8 or 9 o’clock but they’re still out there trick-or-treating, and some of the older kids are by themselves. This is an issue that the driver has control over, they need to be the ones to be careful. So for our students who have kids, make sure that they have a flashlight and some sort of reflective vest. Don’t have your children wear costumes so dark that no one can see them.”
Though many Halloween dangers for college students may happen on the road, there are other dangers that are associated with alcohol consumption or simply being out late at night.
“I have actually had a dangerous experience on Halloween,” said Darlene Perdue, junior corporate communications major. “This white van with no windows followed us for two blocks until we ran and hid in Thomas Manor Park and the guys in the van actually got off and tried to search the park for us but we were sneaky enough to leave the park without them seeing us.”
Some basic crime prevention tips when going out to parties or clubs where alcohol is present are just as relevant on Halloween, such as never leaving drinks unattended, always staying with a group and limiting alcohol consumption. According to webwire.com, some good tips for students celebrating Halloween in residence halls are to keep an eye on who you allow into parties you may be hosting, be cautious when approaching people in costume, do not let people in police costumes fool you, and if attending a basement party, be aware of the nearest fire exits.
Rebecca Guerrero may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org..