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Staying Safe This Halloween: College Edition-By Zane Wagner

Halloween is the day of the year where children go door to door, screaming at strangers and begging them to give them candy. Sounds pretty normal, right? Sounds like the Halloween that you are used to, right? Well, you're in college now and college students celebrate Halloween very differently. They call it "Halloweekend," where you celebrate Halloween for the entire weekend(s) surrounding the spoopy holiday. So, here are some tips to make sure you stay safe, stay smart, and still can have a fun time on Halloweekend.

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1. Don't go out on an empty stomach.

Now this one may seem like a no brainer BUT in the midst of picking a different costume for every day of Halloweekend, finding out how you're going to get to and from your location, and making sure all of your friends look just as good as you...you may forget to eat. And that can be very dangerous, especially if your celebrating is going to include drinking "Butter Beer." Eat before you go out! Just do it! If you don't, it could lead to some serious problems for you throughout the night and ruin your fun, as well as the fun of the people you're with.

2. Be smart when picking your costume.

One of the most fun and important parts of Halloweekend; picking the right costume(s). Yes, you want to look cute. Yes, you want to be creative. Yes, you want to go as a couple with your BFF. But don't forget to dress smart. It's October. It can be pretty cold especially at night, or it could rain. Who knows? So make sure your costume is appropriate for weather. You wouldn't want your Halloween to be ruined because you're too cold all night. Also, know what you will be doing. If there's dancing or lots of walking involved, you may want to reconsider wearing those skinny jeans or those 10 inch heels because you may end up regretting that decision.

3. Don't wear anything that makes you look unrecognizable.

This is a big one! There are probably going to be a lot of people out in a lot of different costumes. But remember, you went out with a group. There is a very big chance that you may get split up at some point throughout the night and need to reconnect before you meet back up. If you are wearing a mask or any other kind of costume that hides your face, how are they going to find you? Wearing a mask can also be a little sketchy if you do go to a house party. No one is going to know who is under that mask. Think of it this way - if you saw someone in a mask/couldn't recognize someone, you'd be a little uncomfortable. So avoid that!

4. Make sure your phone is FULLY charged.

This is a BIG one! This is the digital age and we have our phones with us everywhere we go. They are a very important tool when going out whether you're calling an Uber, finding your friends, or worse case scenario, getting help in an emergency. As you are getting ready for the night charge your phone! And if need be, bring a phone charger with you.

5. Stick to the buddy system.

Common rule about going out: go with a group. It is easier and safer that way, especially on Halloween since it's a very popular time to go out. Being with people you know can make the night safer for everyone. Go out with a group, AND GO HOME WITH EVERYONE WHO WENT OUT WITH YOU. Do not leave a party without everyone you went with, unless you know where they are and KNOW that they are safe. And with your group HAVE A PLAN! Don't change it in the middle of the night. Know how you're getting there and how you're getting home, and stick with that plan!

6. Don't go anywhere you don't know.

Although it may be very tempting to just walk around and find the most hopping party, avoid doing this. If you are going to go anywhere, make sure it is somewhere you know and somewhere that is expecting you. If you're not sure where you're going, ask someone and make sure you have the right address. Unfamiliar territory can be unsafe, especially on Halloween, so know where you're going before you even head out for the night.

7. Be aware of the contents of your drink.

If you choose to drink "potions" of any kind on Halloween, make sure you know where it came from and what is in it. Always ask what specifically is in a concoction. The safest practice is to only drink what you brought. If someone is offering you a drink, be present when the bottle or can is opened for the first time. Some of the mixed drinks served at parties have tons of alcohol in them that is hard to taste. It's difficult to know how much alcohol you've had to drink until you're stumbling out the door. Take it easy and stay aware of what you're consuming.

8. Help your friends out.

If something bad happens to one of your friends during the night help them. If someone gets sick, passes out, tries to go somewhere they shouldn't, take action. If there is a medical emergency, call for help. If you are unable to provide help, find someone who can. Do your best to stay calm and don't worry about getting into trouble. Your safety and the safety of your friends is top priority.

Additionally, watch out for your friends. Know who you are going out with and keep an eye out for them. If they start to do something they wouldn't normally do, step in. Casually get your friend out of that situation and make sure they are okay. At that point it might be the best time to head home.

Above all, be a great friend!

9. Staying in is okay!

If you decide to stay in, that is 100% okay! Don't feel pressured into going out somewhere you don't really want to go. If you don't want to go and then end up going out, you probably won't have fun. Don't let anyone make you feel bad doing what you want.

You can watch some Halloween movies (check out Wesley's article), make some fun Halloween treats (check out Ali's article) and even decorate your place for the occasion (check out Anna's article)!

On Halloween, do what YOU want to do!

10. Last but not least...HAVE FUN!

Halloween is the time of year for costumes, fun decorations and spending time with fun people! So whatever you do, be sure you have fun! Get creative and stay safe!!!

Happy Halloween!

Stay Spoopy!

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