Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Special: Avoiding "Tricks" Tips

Halloween is this upcoming Saturday so I'd like to share some safety tips now, before the holiday.  Most have been ingrained in every man, woman, and child's head already,  but there might be a few that have been overlooked, need to be updated for the times, or people heard so often they've stopped actually taking to heart.  I'll be covering five that would fit into at least one of those categories.

Tip #1:  Make Your Cellphone Part of the Costume

Even the undead would probably roam around with a cellphone these days so dressing like a zombie, vampire, or anything else, doesn't mean to you can't bring yours.  Yes, I imagine having a cell ring while dressed as a ninja could be a little awkward - and totally kill those stealth moves of yours - but it's better than being out on the town, in trouble, and having no way to call for help.  My advice is to work it into your costume somehow; whether attaching it to your superhero (or is that villain?) utility belt, sticking it in a bag adjusted to match your costume, or just tucking it in a back pocket, bra, or waistband.  If you made your costume than you're more than creative enough to find a place for your cell.  To better suit the season you can always use a really creepy ringtone for the night; just be sure you've got a way to keep in touch with others while out on Hallow's Eve.

Tip #2: Pre-Plan Your Route

This is geared towards Trick-Or-Treaters old enough to go off with their friends…or any adult doing a Halloween inspired party-hop/pub-crawl.  There's actually a few reasons this is a good idea, both outside of safety or for it.  Outside of safety the group you're with won't ever really have to stop the expedition throughout the neighborhood/city to debate which street to head down next, you'll already have it pre-planned.  You can even plan according to the places known for the best treats/drinks/atmosphere to optimize the night’s experience.  On the safety end it's good simply because people know where you'll be so if you go missing due to confusion or foul play others will know where to look - along your route - and be able to search from there.  For the Trick-Or-Treaters there can also be an agreed upon time that you'll return home (or to whatever end point is chosen from which you'll call adults in charge) so people - a.k.a. parents or guardians - know when to start worrying.  For the costumed partiers and pub-crawlers there can be an agreed upon crash pad so that no one needs to worry about getting home alone safely after all the festivities.

Tip #3 Treats Stay Outside!

Just like any other day of the calendar do not, under any circumstances, enter someone's house or car while trick-or-treating.  There is no reason to.  Any candy you're going to get you can get right there on the front porch (in front of witnesses) and any offers to come inside should be refused.  As far as cars...well who hands out candy to random folks from their cars without some other ulterior motive?  Keep your trick-or-treating to the the front porches of well-lit houses on your route.  (If you’re going to a party or on a pub-crawl the opposite is true - don’t leave with people you don’t know, just like you shouldn’t at any other time of the year.)

Tip #4 Avoid Shortcuts

Shortcuts, especially those through unlit and unpopulated areas, are never a good idea.  True they can get you to the place with the better candy, booze, or party faster, but they're also a great place for those of ill-intent to hide in wait for a victim.  Quite simply, the risk isn't worth it.  The possible urge to take shortcuts can be avoided if the tip to pre-plan your route is taken…in planning your route ahead of time you can find the best and fastest routes without having to even think about using shortcuts.  Also included in shortcuts should be yards, parking lots, and (visits to/cuts through) graveyards since they are also places where you don't know what or who might be around.  What’s true for trick-or-treating is true for party-hopping/pub-crawling in this case; just stick to a nicely lit, safe, route so you can enjoy yourself without worry.

Tip #5 Use Sidewalks

While obvious almost any other time of the year, a great deal of folks forget this one on Halloween night.  It's understandable, in a group of costumed individuals, everyone hyped on sugar and/or liquor, one might feel special and not required to follow the usual rules of the road...after all cars will be looking out for you and other revelers.  However, some drivers might be coming back from a Halloween event where they've been drinking - in other words: drunk drivers are around! - and even the most careful and sober driver might have trouble seeing someone dressed all in black as a Sith lord.  In the end it's better to stick to sidewalks and making sure to look out for cars while crossing road like you’d normally do.

Now...go!  Give those costumes a final touch, grab an extra bag of candy, queue up some horror films, and enjoy the greatness that is Halloween!

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