Thursday, October 20, 2016

Halloween Self Defense



"Boooo. Boo. Boooo. Boo. I'm the ghost that scares you...," goes the song I sing with my kids.

I love this time of year. In our family, we celebrate the fall season all month long. And of course, we have great fun on Halloween night.  Halloween can be fun for "kids" of all ages, and with a little caution, the holiday can be a safe one to celebrate. Here's some tips we share in our self defense classes to help keep Halloween safe, fun, and enjoyable for all.



Haunted House Safety

  • Go with friends
  • Don't make yourself an easy target for criminals
  • Make sure your friends are aware of dangers that Haunted Houses attract, i.e. petty criminals, theft, gang violence, sexual assaults, etc. When I was 10 years old, a gang followed some kids from a haunted house to my neighborhood and proceed to complete a gang initiation by beating up the kid. I think this is what sparked my interest in self defense.
  • Park in a well-lit area preferably provided by the haunted house and where security is present
  • Always stay with your group or at least one friend at all times. 
  • If you have to return to your car to get something, go with at least one friend.
  • Always be aware. Haunted Houses are fun, but keep an eye out for unwanted attention and "creepy" people.
  • Keep purses and bags in your trunk. Carrying these just makes you an easy target. Put enough money in your pocket for the activity and since it is usually cooler, you can keep your phone in your jacket pocket. Leave the rest in the car.


Trick-or-Treating for Teens  
  • Always go with friends.
  • Stay in well-lit areas and neighborhoods
  • Stay in neighborhoods with plenty of trick-or-treaters. These usually have the most candy anyway. 
  • Follow the same rules as going to a Haunted House, especially always being aware
  • Don't make yourself an easy target for attackers
  • Make sure your parents know and approve of the neighborhoods you plan to visit. 
  • Check in with your parents often and make sure an adult always know where you are at and when you plan to return home.
  • Be respectful of the little ones. Really, trick-or-treating is for those under 12. If you decide to go, make sure you don't scare, hurt, and make anyone mad.  Courtesy goes a long way in avoiding a confrontation that can turn into a fight or self defense situation.
  • Don't do anything criminal or start any fight. Keep your "tricks" appropriate and friendly. 
  • Remember, the day is meant to be fun, but it is important to remain respectful and stay out of trouble at all times. 
  • Wear a costume that is appropriate that doesn't bring you unwanted attention. Also, make sure you can see well. In order to be aware, you must be able to see what is going on around you.
  • Watch for cars at traffic. Last year, two teens were killed trick-or-treating in our area. Stay on one side of the road then cross over to the other at the end of the road. Don't zigzag from side to side of the street trying to get as much candy as possible. This just increases your risk of not being seen and getting hit by a car. 
  • Inspect all candy and throw away any tampered or questionable candy. Sadly, some people think poisoning candy is a great "trick" on Halloween.
  • Use a flashlight to make you more visible


Trick-or-Treating for Youth
  • Always stay with your parents or other adults
  • Follow all the rules above for the Teens
  • Only cross the road with parents or other adults
  • Let your parents inspect all your candy before you eat any of it.
  • Remember, the martial arts principle of Courtesy and stay off people's lawns (this is my pet peeve, so I had to put this in).


Halloween Parties for Adults
  • Be smart and don't make yourself an easy target. Wear an appropriate costume that doesn't bring unwanted attention. 
  • Go and stay with friends. If you return to your car, always go with a friend.
  • Be smart about alcohol consumption. Always keep an eye on your drinks to make sure someone doesn't put something in it. Yes, this still happens. And of course, make sure your group has a designated driver or calls a cab.
  • Be aware of ways to prevent sexual assault 
  • Call for help if you need it.  


I hope you enjoy and have a safe Halloween.

If you would like to learn techniques to prevent and deal with a self defense situation, please join us in class.

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