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Preventing underage drinking on Halloween

If you have a teen who's planning to throw a Halloween party at your home, it's essential to ensure that there is no alcohol. Just because you don't serve it, that doesn't mean that someone won't sneak it in.

That's why parents need to provide supervision for their kids' parties. You don't have to be in the middle of it. However, let everyone know that you're around, that you'll be passing through occasionally, and that you're on the premises.

Of course, the main reason for insuring that there's no alcohol is the well-being of the kids. Those who engage in underage drinking are more likely to be involved in car crashes and victims of crime than those who don't. However, you're also legally responsible for what goes on in your home. It's illegal in Maryland to knowingly allow an underage person to consume or even possess alcohol. You could face a fine of up to $2,500 for a first offense.

If you and your teen plan a fun, action-packed party, guests will be less tempted to smuggle in the alcohol. Some combination of pizza, scary movies, games, costumes and music are often plenty to keep teens happy for an evening.

If your child is going to someone else's home for a Halloween party, that doesn't mean that you surrender control.

  • Make sure that you know where the party is and that there will be at least one responsible adult on-site. Get the contact information for that adult before your child leaves.
  • Set a curfew. You also may want to require that your child check in with you during the evening.
  • Talk to your child about the dangers of drinking and your expectations of them. If you've done it before, do it again. Parents have a greater impact on teen drinking than they realize.
  • Make sure your child feels free to call you if he or she feels unsafe, whether because people are drinking or for any other reason, or needs a ride home.

If your child is arrested for underage drinking, it's important to remember that it could impact his or her chances of getting into college, obtaining a scholarship or getting a part-time job. It's understandable for parents to want their children to face the consequences of their actions. However, it's also important that their legal rights are protected.

Source: Ventura County Behavioral Health, "VCkidsFYI: Don't be tricked this Halloween. Hosting a party with underage drinking is no treat. Learn the social host laws," accessed Oct. 03, 2017

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