Halloween drinking tradition persists in CHS culture

On Halloween, harmless fun is no longer on the menu for CHS students.

Gone are the days of going trick-or-treating with one’s mother: as young people age, their tastes grow more varied (and illegal). With the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reporting that drunk drivers kill three times more people on Halloween than they do on New Year’s Eve, it is obvious that drinking is a popular activity on Oct. 31.

When asked, 18 of the 22 upperclassmen interviewed said that they either have participated or will participate in recreational drinking on Halloween.

“Hell yeah,” one junior girl said. “I definitely will. A lot of people do.”

A junior boy added, “It’s not like we’re doing anything that bad. Nobody’s going to drive drunk. People would stop them.”

But statistics suggest otherwise: the CDC states that in 2012, 23 percent of the 2,650 drivers aged 15 to 20 involved in fatal car crashes were drinking.

With the last drunk driving fatality of the Carmel area being Keenan Lucero, CHS graduate of 2010, drunk driving’s dangers are easily dismissed in this area.

“Carmel’s a bubble. We’re pretty isolated,” a senior girl says. “It’s important to remember that even though we’re protected, we’re not immune to that kind of thing.”

Regarding Halloween parties, students confirm that while there aren’t many, alcohol flows freely within them.

“There are usually a few, not a whole lot, and everyone just kind of congregates there,” a senior boy says. “Yeah, there can be a lot of alcohol and weed. But not everyone does that kind of thing.” He continues, “I don’t plan to this time around. Someone’s gotta drive.”

Unfortunately, 15 of the 22 students interviewed also drive, and 17 of them intend to drink. So who’s driving?

“Usually, a couple of people will show up [to a party] and say, ‘Hey, I’m driving, I can give you a ride.’ But this Halloween’s on a Friday, so I think a lot of people will just sleep over at someone’s house or maybe walk home,” a senior girl says. “But, like, only the real idiots drive drunk. It’s not like anyone congratulates them for it. We all kind of look down on them.”

Yet, two of the students asked admitted that they had driven after drinking before. And on a night filled with both young children wandering the unlit streets and free-wheeling teenagers with cars, the results of intoxicated driving could be tragic.

A junior boy says, “I mean, I don’t think any kids under the age of 16 have been hurt or killed in any accident like that. Around here, at least. It would be all over the place. But people do need to think about it. That’s someone’s kid.”

CHS support counselor Kate Miller agrees.

“I think that holidays are oftentimes used as an opportunity to party, so there needs to be that awareness about safety,” Miller says. “But students can have a plan, there’s a lot of great creativity that can go on around Halloween not involving alcohol.”
-Elizabeth Harrison