Halloween weekend can be a time to have fun and celebrate with friends. Celebrations that involve alcohol and other substances can also make it easier for problematic behaviors and unwelcome advances to go unnoticed.
Here are a few tips to help you have a safer Halloween weekend out with friends.
Halloween can be a time for many people to get out of their comfort zones by dressing up, feeling the adrenaline rush of a haunted house or attending parties off campus. However, there are also a number of Halloween traditions that can make people feel uncomfortable or unsafe, like being grabbed in a haunted house or maze or agreeing to attend a party where they don’t know many people. It's important to keep in mind that things that may feel fun to one person may be too uncomfortable or risky for someone else.
If a friend expresses hesitancy to participate in a particular activity or event, let them know you support their decision. Letting your friends know that you will support them even if they don’t join in can go a long way in building trust and respect.
Additionally, it can be hard for any of us to know what new situations are past our limits until we are in it. This is because we may feel pressure to dismiss our body’s cues in order to be accepted or go with the flow. If a friend wants to leave halfway through a haunted house or in the middle of the party, listen to what they’re feeling. If they need help getting out of a situation, make a commitment to leave together or as a group.
Dressing up is a cherished part of celebrating Halloween. However, this tradition can also be infused with problematic stereotypes and attitudes. For this reason, it’s important to notice when people are using outfit and costume choices or alcohol or other drugs as an excuse for groping, non-consensual touching and other inappropriate comments or behaviors.
Watch out for individuals who:
It’s okay to intervene or interrupt a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, even if you’re not sure you’re reading it correctly. If someone’s behavior seems aggressive, weird or makes you uncomfortable, don’t ignore it.
Offering help in these types of situations can feel awkward in the moment, so it can be helpful to think of ways to help that feel realistic for you to try. This can include enlisting the help of trusted friends to ensure a person gets home safely or can get out of a situation. Check out the Don’t Ignore It website to explore support resources, strategies for bystanders and reporting information.
Make a commitment to stick together and agree on how you will meet back up if you get separated. This lessens the chances that someone in your group will have to rely on lesser-known friends or strangers to get home, which can also reduce the chances of something bad happening.
It’s also important to establish a way to check in with each other. Save each other’s phone numbers and consider starting a group chat so you can communicate in case someone needs help. You’ll want to make sure that everyone has their sound on so you don’t miss any important notifications from the group.
Finally, make sure everyone knows where you’re all planning to go. Google and Apple Maps are a great way to make sure everyone ends up where they’re supposed to be. If you do get separated in a crowd, try using the “share my location” feature with the group so they can find you and regroup. If plans change, make sure everyone knows and is in agreement.
It’s perfectly okay to decline an invitation to do something if it doesn’t feel right. Remember that you can always make up an excuse to get out of an uncomfortable situation or leave a party if it feels like it’s too much or is getting out of hand.
If you want to go home or leave a particular party, let your friends know you’re ready to go and ask someone to go with you. Remember that you can always make an excuse to leave a party, event or situation. For instance, you can say that you have work in the morning, a family emergency or that you aren’t feeling well.
Resources are available for students who have experienced identity-based harassment or sexual misconduct, want to support friends and survivors, or want to learn more about prevention. Students often reach out to friends or family members first when something bad happens. Having the skills to respond effectively without blame or judgment is important to keep in mind. Learn more skills for supporting your friends after a traumatic event.
Here are some resources available to support those who have been affected.
OVA provides free and confidential information, consultation, support, advocacy and short-term, trauma-focused counseling services for students, grad students, faculty and staff who have experienced a traumatic, disturbing or life-disruptive event, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, discrimination, and identity-based harassment.
OIEC offers educational sessions and implements university policies and processes around sexual assault, intimate partner abuse and stalking, and other forms of discrimination and harassment. If you or someone you know at CU has been impacted, reports can be filed online. Anonymously reporting is an option as well.