Staying safe at Halloween parties

Halloween season is upon us, and with it comes one of our most hallowed university traditions: the massive keg/costume party.

Halloween season is upon us, and with it comes one of our most hallowed university traditions: the massive keg/costume party. In an environment where pretty much everyone is going to be incredibly drunk and wearing clothing even more bizarre than the everyday Portland please-notice-me attire, it’s easy to lose touch with reality and with it, a rational sense of the danger involved in activities such as these.

No one should walk around terrified of their own shadow, and we are definitely not saying you can’t have fun at parties, but your holiday fun will be greatly improved by keeping yourself generally safe and un-murdered this Halloween party season. Ladies, no matter how great most of the guys you know are, there are still men out there that will attempt to take advantage of any girl they can. Add alcohol and the chaos and isolation of a big party to the equation and you can be putting yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. Fortunately, there are some simple and easy things you can do to ensure your own safety, as well as that of your friends, when you strap on your lingerie and bunny-ears and hit the scene.

1. Go in groups of AT LEAST three. This may sound inconvenient, but it’s necessary for your safety. Men with predatory intentions are less likely to approach a group than a woman on her own, and the more people keeping an eye on each other, the better. There is strength in numbers and a larger chance that at least one of you will be sober enough at all times to watch out for the others. Don’t let knowing the host lull you into a sense of security. Chances are, she doesn’t know everyone at the party either, and she will not be able to look out for you all night while she’s trying to make sure no one pees in her closets or sets fire to the pets.

2. Stay with everyone you came with. Never, ever show up to or leave a party alone and make sure your friends are safe, too. Incidents of sexual assault at parties most commonly occur when friends lose each other in the fray and just assume everyone is OK. If you see one of your girls going off with a guy you don’t know or don’t trust, just walk up and politely say to the guy, “I need to talk to my friend for a minute.” Ask her if she is sober enough to make safe decisions, and assess the situation. If you feel it’s unsafe, tell your friend to come hang out with you and the girls for awhile.

3. Never leave alone. Not to belabor this point, but seriously. This is straight out of “How-to-not-get-raped/mugged/molested/murdered 101.” When you even feel slightly drunk, don’t leave by yourself. Either stay overnight with people you trust, have someone else drive you home that you trust or call a cab. This goes for everyone, though, not just girls, because this can save you a DUI. Leaving a party alone isn’t safe, especially on a college campus.

4. Know what you’re drinking. Keep an eye on your drink and your surroundings. Trust your instincts. Pretty much everyone on earth knows that if some guy walks up and offers you a drink at a party, you say no. Pace yourself and alternate your drinks with water. It takes your liver about one hour to process each alcoholic drink, depending on your size, food consumed and other factors. Don’t mix your drinks. Stick with one type of alcohol. Alternating different types of alcohol will raise and lower the sugar in your bloodstream, which can just make you sick and put an end to a fun night. As obvious as it seems, avoid drinking games. When playing them, it’s hard to judge how much you are drinking and in how long of a time span. Keep in mind that for every five drinks a guy has, a girl can drink two.

5. Don’t drive home drunk or walk home alone. Just don’t. You are taking your life literally into your hands and, if you’re driving, the lives of others as well. Besides, you’re risking a DUI, which is incredibly expensive and humiliating. Drink water to counteract the dehydration from the alcohol and to prevent a hangover the next day. After the party, leave with your friends, make sure everyone gets home safe and if any of your friends are still very intoxicated, don’t leave them alone. Be sure to check on them throughout the night since their BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) can still rise even though they’ve stopped drinking. Have fun! ?