There is a lot more to Halloween than parties and trick-or-treating, in fact the most frightening parts might just be ourselves.

Mount St. Joseph University quad in the falltime

With the increase of crimes on Halloween, and the risk of drunk drivers, there’s a lot of dangers that we should be aware of. After all, it doesn’t hurt to know the risks so you can make your Halloween as fun and safe as you possibly can.

According to Scott Humphrey, a Travelers Risk Control handler, “There are 17% more crime related claims on Halloween.” A professor from Northeastern University believes “violent crimes increase by as much as 50% on Halloween, which is two times the daily average.”

We may wonder why these crimes are significantly more common. For further information on the matter I asked Dr. Jim Bodle, a psychology professor here at Mount St. Joseph. The reasons he believed there could be a spike in Halloween were the following.

He believed Halloween would give a criminal “extra opportunities” to commit a crime because “houses are typically left open and people who are home are distracted.” Bodle suggested the idea that “Halloween is thought of as a trash night, people think it’s all right to do property crime”.

Building on this, he continued, “Halloween is suggested to be a night of tricks, and that may suggest to people that it’s okay to do property crime.” He made it a point as well to acknowledge that “Parents may drive their children to an area to go trick-or-treating, and leave their cars parked and unattended in unusual spaces, and may even forget to lock them.”

Ultimately it would seem that Halloween is a perfect time to commit property crime, especially given the idea that people are often in costume during Halloween. Bodle also proposed the idea of “deindividuation,” the process where one's identity with a group or person overrides their own identities and or self-awareness. Bodle suggests this may be another contributing factor to the increased crime rate.

Halloween parties are among some of the most prevalent in the modern day. A study done in 2007, “Celebratory Drinking and Intoxication: A Contextual Influence on Alcohol Consumption,” shows that during holidays, college students are more likely to drink more alcohol than on any other day. So, if you will drink, be safe about it. You should under no circumstance operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any other substance for that matter.

According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “40% of car accident fatalities on Halloween night are due to drinking and driving.” That is opposed to the average of 29%. I asked campus police officer Zachary Estes about alcohol use on Halloween, and he confirmed that “Thanksgiving and party holidays, including Halloween, have an uptake in vehicular accidents.”

And if the ethics of it weren’t enough to convince you not to get behind the wheel, you should be aware Forbes found on an analysis of some of the biggest insurance companies,  “A DUI conviction can cause your car insurance rates to increase an average of 67%.”

If that weren’t  still somehow enough, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) claim “The yearly cost of alcohol-related car crashes is more than $44 billion.” Getting behind the wheel drunk isn’t worth it, not ethically or financially.

Bodle believes the number of car accident fatalities may be much worse in more recent years, stating that “substance abuse has gone up since the pandemic, and reckless driving has as well.” That is to say, the likelihood of drunk drivers being on the road this Halloween night may be higher than years prior. So whether you decide to go trick-or-treating or go partying, stay safe.

Halloween is a frightening night for more reasons than the costumes and the horror themes. Property crime and violent crimes are more likely, so make sure you keep yourself and your stuff protected. Furthermore, alcohol is common on Halloween, if you partake, don’t risk endangering other people, or yourself--or even your wallet. Be aware all the same, you aren’t the only risk of drinking and driving; be especially wary of vehicles. All it takes is one drunk driver on the road. Now that you know the real terror of Halloween night, go have fun, and be sure to survive the night!