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The Haunting Numbers of Halloween: The impact of drunk driving

The Haunting Numbers of Halloween: The impact of drunk driving

Halloween was one the greatest holidays of the year in my house. It was the one day of the year that my dentist dad turned a blind eye to the amount of sugar that my brother and I ate. With Skittles and miniature candy bars in our stomachs, we’d often crash on the couch. My parents would then clean us up as best they could and carry us up to our beds. To this day, I remember being amazed at the fact that I fell asleep on the couch with my candy wrappers and woke up in bed.

But, not all kids or families get to have the same experience.

For many people, Halloween has become a horror fest. And not just for the ghost and ghouls that are out and about jumping out at kids.

The National Security Council (NSC) reported that in 2016 alone, 7,330 people died on the night of Halloween. While these numbers represent both traffic and non-traffic accidents, many of those non-traffic accidents still involved vehicles. They simply occurred on private property, in driveways or in parking lots.

The NSC also reports that 18% of those deaths occurred at intersections and road crossings. And that children are more than two times as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween.

If these numbers aren’t enough to give you a fright, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that from 2012-2016, 44% of car crashes on the night of Halloween involved drunk drivers. Additionally, 14% of the pedestrian deaths during Halloween night were because an individual chose to drive drunk.

Such staggering numbers may make parents feel uneasy as the time for trick-or-treating draws near. But, there are ways that we can all work to keep our communities safe.

Supervised Parties

It’s a natural thing for teens to attend and to want to throw parties for Halloween. This can be a great way for them to celebrate and dress up, without having to go out.

While throwing these parties, parents should make sure that there is always adult supervision present. If it’s in your own home, make sure that your teen doesn’t have any way to get into a liquor cabinet. It’s also a good policy to double check that party guests don’t find a way to sneak in alcohol.

By doing so, you’ll be saving yourself from the chance of a major liability and of someone driving home drunk. 

If your teen is going to a party, check in on the details with your teen. Where is the party? Who will be there? Will there be an adult present? How will they get home?

While these questions may seem bothersome to your teen, they’re vitally important. In some cases, it can also be beneficial to reach out to the host parents. Ask them the same questions you would ask your teen, and make sure that the teens will be supervised.

Also, make sure that your teen knows your rules on underage drinking. They should know what your expectations are or their behavior, and the consequences you have in place. Most importantly, make it clear that they can call you at any time if the party gets out of hand or they feel uncomfortable.

Setting an Example

There are other ways that parents, and the community, can work to keep Halloween safe. The best is by making sure to set a good example.

Too often in October, memes circulate of drinking games for the holiday. Things like, “Take a shot for every little girl in an Elsa costume” pop up. Or maybe you’ve seen photos of jack-o-lanterns surround by beer cans and carved to look like they’re throwing up from a hangover.

To make sure that children and teens are safe in the community this fall, parents should start by setting a good example.

Make sure to share constructive things about Halloween and the fall. And when it comes time to celebrate, do so in a safe way.

Have friends over for a campfire while your kids have a Halloween party in the house. Or walk in a group of friends with the kids who want to trick-or-treat. When the evenings over, invite your friends over for an evening eating candy together over board games or a spooky movie marathon.

Parents are the strongest voice in the lives of kids. Seeing the example you set this Halloween will greatly impact the way that they choose to spend this Halloween and the ones that follow.

Kaitlyn Inman
kaitlyn@missourisafeandsober.com
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