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Witches, vampires, and zombies won’t be the only scary things out on the streets this weekend. Over the past decade, Halloween has increasingly become an adult- and alcohol-oriented holiday, and data shows that alcohol problems like binge drinking and drunk driving are highest when Halloween falls on a Saturday.

What’s So Special About Saturday?

Saturday holidays tend to create a perfect storm for drinking issues. Most people don’t have to worry about heading into work the next day with a hangover, and they are more likely to start drinking earlier in the day to get the festivities going. In addition, on a Saturday Halloween people are more likely to head out to parties or bars and to stay out later than on a weeknight—all of which can increase the chances of getting behind the wheel after one too many.

Cars and Kids

The trouble is compounded by the potential for drunk drivers to encounter trick-or-treaters. This year, more than 41 million kids are expected to hit the streets in search of candy, and like their adult counterparts, the Saturday holiday means some kids will be staying out later. Research shows that children are more than twice as likely to be killed by a car while walking on Halloween night in comparison to the rest of the year. In addition, over a quarter of all pedestrian deaths on Halloween involve a drunk driver.

Keep the Streets Safe and Sober This All Hallows’ Eve

Don’t let a roadside tragedy turn Halloween into a permanent horror-show. Here are a few tips to stay safe:

  1. Make plans for a sober ride home before you head out for the night. Even when people believe impaired driving is wrong, those beliefs can go out the window after a few drinks, especially as the alcohol is leaving the body. Line up a designated driver, program a cab company’s number into your phone, sign up for a service like Uber or Lyft, or arrange to stay the night before you take the first sip.
  2. Understand how much you are really consuming. Restaurants and bars often pour drinks that are larger than the recommended serving size, and many people are following suit at home because they’ve become used to larger pours. For example, two six-ounce glasses of wine with a 14% alcohol concentration is really the same as three “standard” drinks.
  3. If hosting a party, provide plenty of food and alcohol-free beverage choices. Guests are more likely to become inebriated—and to leave—if they are drinking on an empty stomach. And offering nonalcoholic choices helps guests stick to their limit.
  4. Slow down. With hoards of little ghosts and goblins out in search of a sweet treat, even sober drivers need to be extra cautious and watch for children darting out from parked cars, walking in roadways, and wearing dark clothing. And parents should help make kids more visible by applying reflective tape to costumes and having trick-or-treaters carry flashlights.
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.

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