Safely enjoying Halloween

Halloween lands on a “Cougar Football Saturday” for Washington State University, so students need to be aware of possible consequences that Halloween drinking can induce.

“Halloween has definitely become a college party atmosphere,” Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said.

The first step to have a safe Halloween is to plan ahead. Students should have a plan about how they’re going to get home before going out and becoming intoxicated, Tennant said.

Students can take the precaution of staying hydrated and eating before and during the consumption of alcohol to keep their blood alcohol content from skyrocketing, health promotion graduate assistant Alicia Gleason said. Self-control and awareness are important when choosing the amount and type of alcoholic beverage.

Being better prepared means “making a personal commitment and sharing it with someone else in your group,” Gleason said.

The buddy system may sound cliché, but going out during this weekend with a group of friends you can trust, especially with someone that can hold you accountable, can alleviate the possibility of getting too intoxicated.

“Someone that can help you know if and when you’ve had too much,” Gleason said.

The Pullman Police Department (PPD) generally sees an increase of minors in possession and drivers under the influence during Halloween, Tennant said. They also have officers working overtime, patrolling on foot and bicycles.

Drunk driving is more prevalent on Halloween compared to the rest of the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Forty-eight percent of motor vehicle traffic fatalities on Halloween night involved a drunk driver in 2012. This is why planning on how you’re going to get home or bringing emergency money for a cab is so crucial.

If someone chooses to consume alcohol at a party, they should always watch their drink. That may sound redundant, but with the combination of Halloween and a game day, there’s going to be a lot of costumed visitors. Students should also avoid drinking games and allowing others to pour drinks for them.

If someone seems too intoxicated, seek medical help immediately, even if he or she is a minor. In Pullman specifically, a minor will not be criminally charged or receive a citation as a minor in possession if they seek medical help, Gleason said. The person calling for help will not get in trouble either; medical assistance is more important.

The acronym CUBSUV is a tool that can be used to identify alcohol overdose, Gleason said. C stands for confused; U for unconscious or unresponsive; B for blue, pale or clammy skin; S for slow, abnormal breathing; U for urination; and V for vomiting followed by unconsciousness or vomiting while being unconscious.

Resources available this weekend include the Health and Wellness Medical Clinic, operating during the day, and Pullman Regional Hospital, operating 24/7.