Halloween weekend can be a time for costumes and parties. It can also be a time when people make choices or take risks they normally wouldn't. Check out these tips to help keep yourself and your friends safe.
Break down your own assumptions
Did you know that 93% of CU Boulder students find it acceptable to not drink at a party?
Many times, students come to college with expectations around drinking, partying and what it means to be a college student. Some might assume that everyone drinks or parties, that it’s normal to party every weekend or that people will judge us if we choose not to party or use substances.
Take some time to reflect on any assumptions you may have around party culture. Where do they come from (family, friends, shows, music, etc.)? Is that what you want your college experience to be like or do you have a different vision in mind? Challenging your assumptions and thinking through what you want your college experience to look like can help you make more informed choices around partying.
Think through your ideal experience
If you choose to drink or use other substances, think through the experiences you want to have as well as those you want to avoid. Remember that not everyone uses substances while in college. If you choose to use alcohol or other substances, here are a few examples to help you be more intentional about your use:
If I use ___[substance]___, I want to…
If I use ___[substance]___, I don’t want to…
If you’re interested in exploring your relationship with alcohol or other substances, there are free workshops available to help! You can meet with a trained peer or staff member to discuss your relationship with substances, understand how substances may be impacting your life and tips for making meaningful changes.
Pick and choose
Going out can be fun, but if you’re tired, need to study, have work in the morning or just need some downtime, it’s okay to stay in. Prioritize your own needs and what will make you feel good long term, not just in the moment.
Here are a few things CU Boulder students wish they would’ve known about partying and going out:
Set a limit and know your ‘no’
Alcohol affects everyone differently. This means that our tolerance and limits may look different from those around us. Before you go out, set a limit that feels right for you. It can be helpful to enlist a friend to keep you both accountable for your drinking. Remember to go at your own pace and avoid trying to keep up with others.
If you are worried you may be pressured to drink or use drugs in ways you’re not comfortable with, know your ‘no.’ These strategies can help you manage peer pressure and avoid uncomfortable situations.
You can use one or all of these strategies to stay safe while celebrating. You can also come up with your own strategies if these don’t feel like a good fit for you.
If you choose to drink, remember to eat a snack or meal and drink water before you start drinking. It’s also important to stay hydrated throughout the day/night. Try switching between water and alcoholic drinks. You can also bring a snack or pick up takeout on your way if you get hungry.
Avoid mixing drugs with alcohol, including prescription medications. This can increase the risk of overdose. It can also lead to additional unwanted experiences like passing out, blacking out, feeling sick and doing something regrettable.
Make a plan and stick to it
Make plans with friends before going out and stick to them. If plans need to change, talk about it together. Ensure that everyone gets home safe by designating a driver, taking public transit or using a rideshare like Lyft, Uber or CU NightRide. Never leave someone behind with people you just met or don’t know very well.
Take care of your friends
Take care of your friends by watching for signs of alcohol poisoning or an overdose.
Signs to watch for:
How to respond:
Whether you're looking to explore your relationship with substances, register an upcoming party or connect with a recovery community, CU Boulder has resources that can help.