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All Treat and No Trick

How Older Teens Can Avoid the Dangers That the Month of October Presents

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Halloween can be one of the greatest nights of the year for younger kids. Staying out late, dressing up with your friends and eating all the candy that you want never fails to light up childrens’ night. However, as children grow up and enter their teen years, the allure of trick-or-treating each year slowly fades and teens explore other ideas to keep them entertained during the spooky season. These new activities can put teenagers in a vulnerable position. Not only does Halloween night contain many dangers in itself, but the whole month of October raises risks that teenagers need to be aware of and understand how to be responsible and safe during this time.

One of the many events that is open to young adults here in town is Terror of Tallahassee, opening  Saturday, Oct. 7, and running  until the beginning of November. This lively and interactive event allows older teenagers to still experience the haunting and eerie sensation that Halloween presents, but in a safe arena. While older teens may not be knocking on their neighbor’s door, there are still plenty of dangers that they can be exposed to while at festive outings. Most teenagers will also attend these types of activities unsupervised, relying heavily on the friends around them if something were to ever happen. In this case, it is even more crucial that teenagers are informed on how to be the safest they can be while still having fun. When planning out what to do, going with a group of friends that you completely trust is one of the most important factors. Sticking by your friends' sides while hopping from event to event will decrease the odds of getting lost or being abducted. Although older, teens are still subject to kidnapping, especially on Halloween. According to ABC News, a 14-year-old girl was taken while out trick-or-treating and then assaulted by two older males. Furthermore, staying with friends, updating plans with a parent and avoiding uncommon areas will significantly help with one’s safety during Halloween and should not go unnoticed, no matter how safe you may seem at the moment.

In addition to staying in big groups, another huge aspect of safety that older teens may not think about is driving. As teens get older, we assert the privilege of driving both ourselves and others to any destination and outing of our choice, within reason. During the nighttime of Halloween, children are 10 times more likely to be killed in a car accident. While driving always includes risks, on Halloween those risks/dangers increase due to added factors such as drinking and intoxication. Limiting driving and finding alternate walking routes is one of the best things that teens can do to improve their safety. If this option is not available, teen drivers are advised to stay below the speed limit and be extra cautious of the pedestrians walking close by. It is also important to point out that many older adults could be drinking during this holiday, especially while the kids are out of the house. It is imperative to never accept a ride from a person who has been imbibing. Instead, always find another ride or driver who is able to drive safely and is willing to do so. Anyone who is considering driving on Halloween must be aware of these responsibilities, and when in doubt, find someone who has more experience with driving in chaotic atmospheres to secure the safety of you and other passengers.

There is often a popular misconception revolving around the understanding that children and young teens are the only reckless individuals on this night. While adults may be older and “wiser" and in turn have more experience handling hectic environments, they can often feed into the chaotic energy with dire consequences. Adults, often those without children, may overlook small safety practices that can lead to larger repercussions. For instance, adults should be double checking that porch lights are on so children can be seen during the night and driving slowly through neighborhoods where there are large groups of children and teens, especially when there’s more people in darker clothes. These and others are all practices that adults, and everyone else must be familiar with, so accidents are less likely to happen.

Halloween should be a night of fun. A night where kids can just be kids and teenagers can let loose for one night and forget about the homework spread out on their desk or the big test that they haven't studied for yet. Yet, young children, teenagers and parents all around are worried sick over whether they or a loved one may be in harm's way while simply having a fun night out. Teenagers must stay alert of the dangers that go unnoticed during Halloween so they can be prepared if an emergency were to ever occur.


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Andy Poll

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