RAINN's Halloween Safety Tips
RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) knows that Halloween is an exciting time of year, sometimes taking days or weeks to prepare for. But sexual assault is a crime of motive and opportunity, and Halloween celebrations can present additional risks and potentially dangerous situations. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.
Being aware of possible risks is the first step in staying safe and reducing your risk of sexual assault. While there is no surefire way to prevent an attack, here are RAINN’s Halloween safety tips to keep in mind, whether you are at a party or trick-or-treating with young children.
TIPS for College-age Students:
- Trust your instincts. If you feel alarmed, scared or creepy in any situation, go with your gut. If you see something spooky, contact the local authorities immediately.
- Avoid being alone or isolated with a vampire - - or any creature - - who you don’t know or trust. Make sure a dependable friend knows where you are and who you are with at all times. Don’t leave your group with anyone you’re not sure of – even if he or she asks. Say you’d rather stay with the group.
- Know your surroundings and plan a Jack-o-lantern lit route back to your house. Always carry emergency cash and keep phone numbers to howl at local cab companies if needed. Have your charged cell phone with you.
- Check in with your friends throughout All Hallow’s Eve. Form a buddy system so that no one wanders off alone. Agree on a secret “butt in” signal for uncomfortable situations, such as “Ghost” or “Ghoul!”
- Don’t accept “potion” from people you don’t know or trust and never leave your “potion” unattended. If you lose sight of your “potion,” get a new one, and always watch your “potion” being prepared.
- Don’t let your guard down. Do not assume that the mummies, witches, and wizards you meet will look out for your best interests!
- Watch out for your friends, and don’t be afraid to intervene if a situation appears to be scaring your friend or is frightening you. If your friend seems too drunk or is acting abnormally, get him or her to a safe place immediately.
TIPS for Parents with Children
- Ideally, an adult should accompany young goblins out trick-or-treating. If your young goblins go out on their own, be sure they wear a watch and carry a flashlight. You should know their route, and they should know when to be home and where to reach you in case of emergency.
- Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well, that youngsters can see clearly through masks, and that capes are short enough to prevent tripping or getting tangled.
- Although tampering is rare, tell children to bring the candy & sweets home to be inspected before consuming anything. Look at the wrapping carefully and toss out anything that looks peculiar or unusual.
- If trick-or-treating with a group of friends, your children should be aware of monsters – even “kind” monsters who give them treats. They should never enter a monster’s home, no matter how nice the monster seems! Trick or treaters should stay on the sidewalk and not cross lawns.
- Avoid dark and gloomy houses. Only go to houses with a porch light on and never enter a house or car for candy, treats, or for any other reason.
- Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity under the Halloween moon.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org).
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org.) in partnership with over 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country. The hotlines have helped more than 1.5 million people since 1994. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. For more information about RAINN, please visit rainn.org.