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Halloween is no longer a just-for-kids holiday. According to the National Retail Federation, over 170 million people in the U.S. will celebrate Halloween, with one-third of those planning on throwing or attending a party.

Adults have embraced the chance to dress up in costume and celebrate, and according to some newly released data, some may be doing it at a very high cost.

Alcohol Monitoring Systems has released data that looks at the drinking patterns of alcohol offenders they’ve monitored since 2003. The data takes a look at individuals with a fairly high level of alcohol dependence or addiction. And when they do drink, the consequences often include some time in jail.

So would imbibing in a blood orange martini or some eyeball punch really be worth it? According to AMS, apparently a surprising number decide the answer is yes.

AMS has monitored 255,000 offenders in 48 states, and consistently, Halloween shows an uptick in violations. A statistically significant one. For a mid-week Halloween, the data predicts a 20.4% increase in the number of violations next Wednesday. And for the weekend prior, known as Halloween Weekend? AMS expects a 25% increase in drinking over the average rate of weekend violations the rest of the year.

And those are individuals who KNOW they’re being monitored, every 30 minutes. They KNOW they’re going to get caught, and they KNOW there will be a substantial consequence.

So imagine what’s happening with heavy drinkers or drunk drivers who aren’t monitored.

According to AMS, on average, 99.3% of all the individuals they monitor on any given day have a completely Sober Day. That means no drinking, no tampers, no violations. And that makes the 20-25% increase particularly significant.

Drunk people generally make poor decisions, and deciding to get behind the wheel of a car is just one of the potential issues. In 2010, Halloween fell on a Sunday, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 41% of all highway fatalities over that Halloween weekend (Friday evening thru Monday morning) involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a BAC of 0.08 or higher.

The Littlest Trick or Treaters

There is never a good night to drink and drive, but with the U.S. Census Bureau estimating that 41 million kids will be out trick or treating this year, Halloween is a holiday that warrants extra care when traveling to and from your Fright Fest.

Please, make a plan for getting home safely before you go, rather than deciding after you’ve been drinking. Enforcement agencies throughout the country are taking impaired driving on Halloween seriously, and many will be running roadside sobriety checkpoints in conjunction with the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign organized by NHTSA.

There’s no mask or costume that will protect you from the inconvenience, high cost, and trauma that comes from a drunk driving arrest or crash.

Is that enough to Scare you Sober?

Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up Administrator

Sobering Up: A blog about drunk driving, alcohol addiction, and criminal justice, is anything but a corporate blog. Sobering Up is an opportunity for anyone interested or involved in the issues of drunk driving, alcohol-fueled crime, alcohol dependence and addiction, and the justice system to participate in the conversation.


  1. Now that I’m a parent, Halloween truly has become the scariest holiday of the year. There’s only so much faith I can put in society to protect our youth. Information like this needs to be shared, awareness is the first step in solving a problem like this.

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