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Tips for a safe Halloween

It’s autumn, the most wonderful season. Autumn means falling leaves, crisp winds and pumpkin-flavored everything.

Autumn also brings one of my favorite holidays, Halloween.

Children trick-or-treat, candy is everywhere, friends scare each other in good fun, there are plenty of parties to attend and there are creative costumes galore.

It’s almost like nothing bad can happen on this fun-filled evening.

But unfortunately, that is not the case: Halloween is one of the most dangerous nights of the year. Instances of drunk driving, motor vehicle accidents and cases of sexual assault can be higher on Halloween.

Parties on Halloween, while a great opportunity to connect with new people and have fun, can in some instances involve alcohol.

And I ask you, if you must drink tonight, please drink responsibly.

Women are more likely to sexually assaulted when alcohol is present, regardless of the day.

A conservative estimate of sexual assault prevalence suggests that 25 percent of American women have experienced sexual assault, including rape. Of those 25 percent, approximately one-half of those cases involved alcohol consumption by the perpetrator, victim or both, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

In 2011, 38 percent of fatalities on Oct. 31 occurred in a crash involving a driver who was legally drunk, and in a five-year span from 2007 to 2011, 23 percent of pedestrian fatalities involved a drunk driver, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

There’s also this grim statistic: According to the National Transportation Safety Board, one in four child pedestrians killed by a motor vehicle during the year occurred on Halloween.

So I implore you, be careful tonight.

Here are some things you can do to ensure a safer Halloween:

Don’t go out alone. Bring friends. Your friends will be responsible for your well-being, just as you will be for theirs. Don’t go off or let your friends go off alone. If you have to go somewhere away from the crowd, use the buddy system. Stay in well-lit areas.

Please don’t drive if you’re intoxicated. Don’t let your friends drive intoxicated either. Get a friend to be your designated driver. Take a taxi if you can’t get a designated driver or make arrangements to get a ride home with a sober friend.

If you are planning on drinking tonight, don’t leave your drink unattended or drink from communal sources like punch bowls. Date rape drugs can be easily slipped into a drink and are odorless and tasteless. If you guard your drink your chances of being drugged or sexually assaulted are decreased.

But above all, have fun.

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