Reminders for Having a Safe Halloween
Please take a few minutes to think about your personal safety when celebrating Halloween this week:
- If you go to a costume party, go with a group of friends you know and trust.
- Always carry a photo ID and make sure your friends carry identification and phone numbers with them in case they become incapacitated for any reason.
- Consider your costume, and avoid wearing one that inhibits your ability to see and move freely. Use special caution when crossing the street, and be sure motorists see you before you cross.
- Some people who want to cause harm may take advantage of being unrecognizable in a Halloween costume. Stay in an environment where you can easily get help or move away from someone who is threatening your safety. Be aware of your surroundings.
- If you are intoxicated, your impaired judgment places you at a much greater risk for injury, unwanted sexual contact, or a police citation. Set a drink limit for yourself and stick to it. (Or plan not to drink alcohol at all.)
- If you accept a beverage from someone, make sure that you know the individual, you have observed the drink being prepared, and you never leave it unattended. Exercise caution in any public setting with any beverage.
- Know that alcohol concentrations in beverages are not strong enough to kill the flu virus. Students at other universities have contracted H1N1 apparently from playing drinking games.
- Make a plan to get home safely. If you do not have a sober driver, use the UTS buses that run until 2:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings. You can also call Yellow Cab at 295-4131, charge the ride to U.Va., and pay later– no questions asked.
- Always comply with requests from the police and safety officials.
- Never leave a friend alone, especially if impaired, and do not hesitate to call 911 if medical attention is needed. Students will not face reprisal for seeking help.
- If you see suspicious persons or activity, notify the police by calling 911. The police do not consider this “bothering” them, even if nothing turns out to be wrong.
Each year, I send a message reminding you about Halloween safety. These safety tips are important to practice at all times, but perhaps come into focus even more sharply when incidents occur within the community.
The disappearance more than a week ago of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington reminds everyone that no community is safe from potential harm. While many questions remain about Ms. Harrington’s disappearance, law enforcement officials continue to search for her and for clues since she was last seen at John Paul Jones Arena. Her disappearance is being treated as a criminal case.
Halloween marks a time when your safety is of special concern to me and many others. Occurring this year on a Saturday, along with a home football game, may mean more celebrating than usual. This can be a stressful time, too, with midterms and anticipating the end of the semester and upcoming holidays. The weather is changing, and darkness comes sooner in the evening.
All these factors, either individually or in combination, may pose situations where you or your friends take risks that you normally would not take. I encourage you to be smart, to think about your personal safety, and to make safety a part of your routine, whether it’s Halloween weekend or just an ordinary day.
Please do enjoy the weekend, and best wishes for a safe and happy week to follow.
Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer
View Halloween safety posters created by ADAPT