How to Stay Safe at Halloween Parties in College and Beyond

College students dressed in Halloween costumes

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Halloween can be a fun time for young people, particularly college students. The seemingly countless parties, fun costumes, and outings with friends make this one of the most popular festivities on college campuses. But with drinking and partying comes added responsibility. Use these tips to stay safe and out of trouble at Halloween parties in college.

  • 01 of 08

    Use the Buddy System

    Halloween costumes

    Before heading out for the night with a group of friends, make sure everyone has a person to check in with periodically throughout the evening. If there's someone you can't find at any point in the evening, don't head out without her. Each buddy should keep track of where their partner is, saving the aggravation and worry if someone can't be found.  

  • 02 of 08

    Travel in a Pack

    Halloween Costumes

    Stay close to your friends on Halloween night, especially if you are all wearing elaborate costumes. It's easy to lose people in a crowd, and costumes make it even more difficult to find a missing friend. If possible, have one in the group stay sober to monitor everyone's activities so no one gets left behind if you are going from party to party, which often happens in college. Helpful tip: take a photo of all of you before you leave for the evening to make it easier to find each other later on.

  • 03 of 08

    Wear a Reasonable Costume

    fruit costumes

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    Looking cute or scary is a big part of Halloween, but don't throw caution to the wind when choosing a costume. If you know you'll be drinking alcohol, 6-inch heels are probably not the best idea. Don't dress in something that could cause controversy with strangers — for example, any religious or political figure can be a trigger for people, especially if they've had one too many cocktails

  • 04 of 08

    Don't Drive Anywhere

    college girls in car

    If you are a college student, find parties and activities that are within walking distance of your dorm or apartment to avoid having to get in a car. If you are a young adult and live in a city, walking to bars or restaurants for Halloween celebrations is the best way to stay off the road. If you do have to get somewhere that is farther than a walk, use a ride share service or public transportation instead of driving — among other reasons, you'll probably see some great costumes on a train or a bus! 

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  • 05 of 08

    Avoid the Punch Bowl

    halloween cocktails

    The best way to enjoy a cocktail or two to celebrate Halloween is to stick with one alcohol all night. Whether it's vodka or tequila, beer or wine, making a choice and not changing during the evening will keep your odds of over-indulging to a minimum — and if you do drink a bit too much, you'll be less likely to feel ill the next day if you don't mix your drinks. A punch bowl is an unknown concoction of alcohol, mixers and who knows what else and should be avoided.

  • 06 of 08

    Don't Put Your Drink Down

    halloween college party

    The number one rule of any party — Halloween, 4th of July, birthday or other — is never put your drink down, walk away and then pick it up again. You have no idea who has touched it, what they've put in it or whether they've sipped from it. Either hold on to your drink or, if you do put it down, simply get a new one. Date rape drugs are easily slipped into cocktails and ingested by unknowing victims —when in doubt, throw the drink out.  

  • 07 of 08

    Go Easy on the Sugary Treats

    Halloween candy

    You already know that sugar is not the best for you, but consider this: If you are drinking alcohol and eating miniature (or full size) candy bars all night you are loading up on sugar, which can make your hangover — if you have one — that much worse. If you are not someone who usually eats tons of sugary snacks, the crash can be especially bad. Be sure to line your tummy with some substantial food before beginning to enjoy the evening and you'll feel much better the next day.

  • 08 of 08

    Stay Home

    couple with pumpkin

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    Maybe not the most entertaining option, but Halloween takes a lot of effort and money — for costumes, parties, etc. If you aren't really a Halloween person, don't push yourself to join in. There's nothing wrong with staying home, drinking a pumpkin spice latte and handing out candy to trick or treaters. Seeing children in their costumes can be just as enjoyable as drinking too much and loading up on sweets and other party food. Happy Halloween!