Halloween Safety Tips for Parents

A punch bowl with a frozen red hand for a Halloween party.
A punch bowl with a frozen red hand for a Halloween party.

Halloween is an exciting time full of tricks and treats and ghoulishly creative costumes. But along with all the frightening fun, the holiday can truly be scary. Halloween has unfortunately become associated with alcohol and drunk driving. Teenagers face peer pressure at Halloween gatherings, and young trick-or-treaters fall victim to drunk drivers far too often. Talk It Out is sharing Halloween safety tips for parents so everyone can have a fun and safe holiday.

A Scary Holiday

Parents’ fears about Halloween are not unfounded. According to SCRAM Systems, a company that provides alcohol monitoring systems, 44 percent of all traffic fatalities on Halloween from 2012 to 2016 resulted from a drunk-driving crash. The company shared a study in 2018, The Scary Truth About Halloween and Drunk Driving, and the statistics it uncovered may encourage parents to keep a watchful eye on All Hallows’ Eve:

  • Children are more than twice as likely to be killed by a car while walking on Halloween night.
  • Nearly 50 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds had plans to host or attend a Halloween party last year.
  • More than half of all U.S. households (55 percent) planned to include alcohol in their celebrations.

Kids on the street in the dark, young adults going to parties with alcohol, and drunk drivers causing accidents… yes, Halloween certainly can be a scary time! But there are precautions parents can take to keep their kids and teenage children safe while also using the holiday as an opportunity to start the conversation about underage drinking.

Don’t Be Scared… Be Prepared!

Talk It Out has Halloween safety tips for parents so they can make sure nothing truly scary happens this holiday.

1. Get details and check in

Many teenagers will want to attend, or even host, a Halloween party, and that’s OK. This provides a perfect opportunity for you to talk to your teenage children about underage drinking. Help them come up with an action plan if they are faced with peer pressure or if there is alcohol at a party. Remind your children that you’re always ready and willing to pick them up from an uncomfortable situation — you won’t be mad, they won’t get in trouble, and you’re there to talk with them. Know where they’re going, and who will be with them. If they go to a friend’s house, call to make sure parents are home, and there is no alcohol.

2. Host the party (properly)

If the party is at your house, it’s your responsibility to make sure there is no access to alcohol. If a minor drinks alcohol in your home, you could be criminally charged. Don’t allow parties if you’re not at home, and frequently pop into the room where the party is taking place. You can help your teenager host a boo-tiful bash by offering fun activities and drinks that don’t involve alcohol. Whip up a batch of Witch’s Brew Punch or Ghost Milkshakes. (Check out this list of non-alcoholic Halloween drinks from Bustle magazine.) For activities, consider hosting a murder mystery party or playing Halloween Fear Factor. (Punchbowl.com has some great ideas that won’t cause teenage eye rolls.)

3. Be alert while trolling for treats

When younger children are involved, it’s important to be alert and aware of the dangers associated with trick-or-treating. While little ghosts and goblins are roaming around the neighborhood asking for candy, drunk drivers are on the road far too often. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the Halloween nights of the years 2013 to 2017, there were 158 people killed in drunk-driving crashes. The best thing you can do as a parent is to be on guard while your children are out and about. Review traffic safety rules with your kids before they hit the street and consider adding reflective tape to their costumes and treat buckets. Click here for a list of Halloween safety tips for parents from AAA.

4. Talk It Out

This is a great opportunity to talk with your younger children about the dangers of underage drinking. Adults may be hosting parties while handing out goodies, so your children may see alcohol in the background. Talk about it! Explain that unfortunately not every driver will follow the rules, and they may get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. That’s why your children need to be extra cautious while crossing the street, and it serves as a good example of what not to do when they’re older.

Halloween can be a scary time, but being alert and aware can keep it a fun time for everyone. Use the holiday as an opportunity to Talk It Out with your children and explain the dangers of underage drinking.