RAINN's 2009 Halloween Safety Tips

October 20, 2009 – (Washington, DC) – RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization, released a special Halloween-themed list of tips for both college-aged students and parents taking their children out for a night of Trick-or-Treating. While this is an exciting time of year, sometimes taking days or weeks to prepare for, there are nonetheless risks involved when going out at night. Being aware of possible risks is often the first step in staying safe, especially when in a new environment!

College-Age Tips:

  1. Trust your instincts. If you feel spooked at any point during Halloween weekend, go with your gut. If you see something suspicious, contact the local authorities immediately.
  2. Avoid being alone or isolated with a goblin you don’t know well. Let a trusted friend know where you are and whom you are with at all times. If a goblin asks you to go somewhere, let him or her know you’d rather stay with the group.
  3. Know your surroundings and learn a bright jack-o-lantern route back to your car or dorm. Always carry emergency cash and store the phone numbers of local cab companies in your phone.
  4. When you are out with your friends, arrive together, check in with each other throughout the night, and leave together. Form a buddy system so that no one wanders off alone and agree on a secret “butt in” signal for uncomfortable situations, such as “Mummy!
  5. Don’t accept “witch’s brew” from people you don’t know or trust and never leave your “witch’s brew” unattended. If you lose sight of your “witch’s brew,” get a new one.
  6. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t assume people you’ve just met will look out for your best interests; remember that they could be the Grim Reaper. Watch out for your friends. If a friend seems out of it, is way too intoxicated for the amount of alcohol they’ve had, or is acting out of character, get him or her to a safety place immediately.

Parents with Children:

  1. Ideally, an adult should accompany young children on All Hallow’s Eve. If your children go out on their own, be sure they wear a watch and carry a flashlight and cell phone. They should know when to be home and where to reach you in case of emergency.
  2. Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well, masks are big enough to see clearly and capes are short enough to prevent tripping or entanglement.
  3. Although tampering is rare, tell children to bring the candy home to be inspected before consuming anything. Look at the wrapping carefully and toss out anything that looks paranormal.
  4. If Trick-or-Treating with a group of friends, your children should be aware of strangers. They should never enter a stranger’s home, no matter how nice the people seem. They should use the sidewalk and not cross lawns because you never know who may be lurking in a bush.
  5. Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity under the full moon.
  6. Avoid any haunted houses that could be dangerous. Only go to houses with a porch light on and never enter a house or car for a treat.

Sexual assault is a crime of motive and opportunity. Ultimately, there is no surefire way to prevent an attack. If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it’s not your fault. You are not alone. Help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotlines at 1-800.656.HOPE, and online at rainn.org.


RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE and rainn.org.) in partnership with over 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country. The hotlines have helped more than 1.2 million people since 1994. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. For more information about RAINN, please visit rainn.org.

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