There are a lot of scary things about Halloween – costumes, movies, haunted houses. But the scariest part of the holiday is binge drinking and the dangerous consequences that come with it. With beverages such as “Hallowine,” spooky cocktails, and pumpkin beer continuing to rise in popularity, the chances that more and more individuals will opt to drink on Halloween night increases, placing everyone around them at risk. Saying yes to alcohol this October 31st could literally mean life or death. Educating yourself about the dangers of alcohol could save your life or someone else’s.
Binge Drinking on Halloween
A whopping 86% of adults bring alcohol to Halloween parties. Many don’t just consume one or two drinks, but rather spend the night binge drinking (consuming five or more drinks in two hours for men, and four drinks for women). Death can often be the result. In fact, 43% of car crashes on Halloween involve someone who has a BAC of 0.08 or higher. In addition, 23% of pedestrian deaths are a result of drunk driving. The risks are even higher when Halloween falls on a weekend, as alcohol consumption rises by 30%. Moreover, individuals under the age of 21 show the highest fatality rate, with 45% of drunk car collisions ending in death on Halloween night.
How to Stop Someone from Driving Drunk
If you attend a Halloween party, you’re likely to encounter at least one person who thinks they are “sober enough” to drive. And while it is no secret that alcohol and driving do not mix, trying to convince someone who is intoxicated that getting behind the wheel is a terrible idea isn’t always easy. If you find yourself in this situation, these are some things to try:
- Take their keys away. If you haven’t been drinking, offer to drive them home yourself.
- Call them a cab. With apps like Uber, Lyft, and Juno, safely getting home has never been easier.
- Get others involved. You may not be able to stop them on your own, but a group of people might be able to convince them that driving drunk is a bad idea.
- Let them stay. If the party is at your place, let your intoxicated friend sleep over.
- Call the police. This may seem drastic, and you may be afraid to get your friend in trouble, but letting them drive off could not only end their life but someone else’s as well. Your friend may be mad at you the next day, but at least they’ll be alive.
What to Do if Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning
One of the many symptoms of binge drinking is alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal. Learning to recognize the signs and what to do could help you save someone’s life.
Signs of Alcohol Poisoning
If you suspect that someone is experiencing alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately. There are many myths that someone can “sleep it off” or “take a cold shower” and be fine, but that is simply not true. Alcohol poisoning is dangerous and can lead to coma, brain damage, or even death.
While waiting for medical attention to arrive, try to keep the individual sitting up and awake. If they are unconscious, turn them on their side to prevent them from choking on their own vomit. Continuously check their breathing.
Other Risks of Binge Drinking
Aside from causing deadly car accidents and alcohol poisoning, binge drinking can pose serious risks, including injuries, sexual assault, violent encounters, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and alcohol dependence. In addition, heavy drinking has been linked to anemia, cancer, cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis, dementia, depression, seizures, gout, high blood pressure, nerve damage, and pancreatitis.
Reasons Not to Drink This Halloween
Even if you plan on drinking responsibly, alcohol can still pose a danger. For a truly safe (and memorable) Halloween celebration, skipping alcohol might be your best bet.
- You’ll be alert and able to recognize dangerous situations.
- You’ll avoid making decisions that you might regret, because you won’t be viewing the world through an intoxicated lens.
- You’ll dodge the risks of alcohol poisoning and other harmful effects of drinking.
- You’ll remember the fun you had the previous night!
By saying no to alcohol on Halloween, you can be one less unfortunate Halloween statistic and have a real blast. And you can even try making a cozy beverage, such as hot cider, hot cocoa, or a pumpkin spice latte. That way, you still bask in fall beverage flavors, while staying safe!
This year, embrace the playful frights of the holiday, without the horrifying consequences.