Your Guide to a Fun and Safe Halloween
Tips for having fun while staying safe.
If you’re hosting or attending a social event with friends this Halloween, here are some tips to help you and your guests have a good time – and prevent things from getting too scary!
How can I socialize while following COVID-19 safety measures?
- Try to socialize outside when possible. If that’s not possible, keep the windows open.
- Don’t share drinks and avoid containers of shared food. Try to provide food in individual servings – for example, single-serve bags of pretzels, or place food in bowls beforehand.
- Think about how you will admit people into your event. Although more than 96% of BU students are vaccinated, the vaccination rates in the Boston area more broadly are not as high. When you open your doors to people you don’t know, the risk of COVID-19 exposure for you and your guests may also increase.
- An easy way to control who can enter is by asking for a green badge at the door – it tells you someone is part of the BU community – and BU’s COVID-19 testing and symptom checking protocol.
- Ask guests to wear masks. Make it more fun by encouraging guests to coordinate their masks with their costumes or decorate their masks – you could even hold a contest for the best mask.
- If you don’t feel good – even if it just feels like a cold – stay home.
How can I prevent things from getting out of control?
- Limit capacity. If you have 100 people in your house and you don’t know who many of them are, that can potentially be unsafe for your personal property and other guests. It also makes it more difficult to get people to leave when your event ends.
- Have a sober monitor. Have a friend or two agree to check people’s green badges at the door, help you watch the space, and be on the lookout for any unsafe situations.
- Be a good neighbor. If you live in Allston Brighton, remember that families and other people who may have a different schedule than you also live in the neighborhood. Get to know your neighbors and give them your contact information. Encourage them to contact you directly if they have concerns about your social gathering. If the music’s too loud, they can ask you directly to turn it down – instead of calling the police.
- Be proactive to avoid situations that will result in police shutting down the event. BU Police and Boston Police are typically called because of loud music or too many people making noise. On the first visit, they will usually ask you to quiet things down. This is a good time to think about gradually ending the event (see the tips below) or reducing the number of attendees by half. If police are called to the same residence multiple times, they will often break up the event and law enforcement action may be taken.
How do I know when to call for help if someone has had too much to drink?
First, not all Terriers drink. But whether you choose to drink or not, knowing BU’s policies on alcohol and drug use and the signs of an alcohol emergency may help you save a life or prevent other serious harm.
You don’t have to be afraid to call for help! BU’s Good Samaritan policy states: When a Terrier seeks help for themselves or others who’ve used alcohol or drugs, neither student will receive a sanction for alcohol or drug use, as long as they complete an educational or counseling program on campus.
If you’re not sure if someone is having an alcohol or drug emergency, call for help immediately—response time is crucial. If you see someone showing any one of these signs after consuming alcohol or other drugs, seek help immediately:
- Vomiting: Frequent vomiting, vomiting while asleep, or not waking up after vomiting
- Unconscious: Can’t wake up if you call their name or shake them
- Physical changes: Irregular breathing, pale or blueish skin, cold to the touch
- Disoriented: Confused about their surroundings or the time, cannot answer basic questions like where they live or go to school
How do I call for help?
- If you’re on campus, call the BU Police Department at 617-353-2121. Their officers are most familiar with BU’s campus and can get to you in a matter of minutes.
- If you’re off-campus, call 911.
How do I take care of someone who has had too much to drink?
- Do: Call for help immediately, stay with the person, and lay them on their side.
- Don’t: Give them food or drink (not even water), leave them on their back, give them a cold shower, or move them.
What are some tips for drinking more safely?
There are plenty of ways to have fun without drinking, and many Terriers don’t drink! But if you do choose to drink alcohol, these tips can help you and your friends do so responsibly:
- Track your drinks, keeping in mind standard drink sizes
- Space out your drinks – it can take up to 30 minutes to feel the effect of a drink
- Eat before and while drinking to slow the absorption of alcohol
- Set a limit in advance and stick to it – plan with a friend or group of friends how much you will be drinking, so you can hold each other accountable
- Plan on ways to say no if you’re offered drinks past your limit
- Limit drinking games, or substitute with a nonalcoholic drink
- Bring/drink nonalcoholic drinks, or alternate between alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks
- Offer to be the sober support for a friend who will be drinking
How do I get people to leave my event when it’s over?
Make a plan for when and how to end the event. Turn the music off a half hour before you want the event to end, turn the lights up, and stop serving food and drinks. Most people will get the hint, but if someone is refusing to leave, making you uncomfortable, or being violent, call BU Police or Boston Police.
Have a safe and happy Halloween, Terriers!
Content from this article was shared in a webinar on safer social events with panelists from Student Activities, Healthway, Government & Community Affairs, the BU Police Department, and Wellness & Prevention Services. Watch a recording.