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Halloween can be a fun time for students to wear costumes, go out and maybe even get spooked, but there are scarier things to look out for than the person donning a mask and fake blood.

Drinking, going out in the dark and driving or walking around crowded areas at night can present many dangers. For students who decide to participate in any Halloween festivities, it’s important to be aware of these dangers and how they can be avoided.

Students should stay conscious of the behaviors that are associated with drinking, such as driving under the influence.

Intoxication can lead to dangerous activities, so it’s valuable to be alert in settings where intoxicated people are present.

It is also crucial to determine a ride home before heading out, either by assigning a designated driver, setting up a ride with Uber or agreeing to call a taxi.

Students should also be on the lookout for drunken drivers while on the road at night.

“We know that holidays like Halloween are popular times for students to go out, and while we understand that, we want them to behave responsibly,” UCF Police spokeswoman Courtney Gilmartin said.

Gilmartin also said police officers will be out in the UCF area looking for illegal drinking behaviors on Halloween.

“Students come here to learn, they come here to get degrees. If they mess up, it can impact their ability to graduate, their scholarships and their housing,” she said.

If students decide to walk around on Halloween night, they should consider the basics: Go with a group and don’t rely on streetlights to make you visible to cars — especially when wearing a dark costume or clothing.

“[Students] need to have some kind of lighting mechanisms so that they can be seen,” Gilmartin said.

If students choose to participate in any trick-or-treating activities, they should be wary of what they consume.

Anyone who takes candy from strangers is at risk of being unsafe. Such goodies can not only include candy with poison, but sharp objects can also be hidden inside, such as pieces of glass or razor blades.

This isn’t always something people think about, so it’s something to keep in mind, Health Services spokeswoman Mary Schmidt-Owens said.

The best thing to do to avoid hazards is to stay in safe areas and be aware of what is consumed.

“I would recommend that if you see anything with the wrapper open, even if it’s just something you got from the grocery store, to just throw it out,” Schmidt-Owens said.

She also said if anyone were to come to the Health Center thinking they had been poisoned, the Health Center would call Poison Control and an ambulance — although if you think you’ve been poisoned, it’s best to call 911 right away.

Poison Control can be reached for emergencies or additional information 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-222-1222.

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Kristen Fiore is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.

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