For many, Halloween at CWU is a time to get out, blow off some steam and socialize with friends. Parties pop up throughout Ellensburg, and the downtown streets come alive with students and locals alike. Whether you choose to party, hit the bars or hang out with a few friends in your dorm, it is important to realize the risks that the holiday brings and the ways that you and your friends can stay safe and out of trouble.
Todd Ames, a campus police officer of 13 years, said that one of the best ways to stay safe this Halloween is to make a plan with friends that you trust and stick to it. It may be tempting to go home with someone you’ve met that night, but staying with people you know is safer.
Planning transportation for the end of the night is crucial as well. Ellensburg Police Sergeant, Josh Bender, said he expects full patrols out on the streets on Halloween and the following weekend. Bender also said that if you are planning to drive, be aware of the potential for drunk drivers, and be mindful that there may be more people out on the streets than usual.
Parties can pressure people to drink more than they usually would. Ames said the smart thing to do is stick to personal limits. It is also important to watch out for friends. Washington state’s Good Samaritan laws state that if you are worried someone around you has consumed too much, you may seek medical attention for them without being charged or prosecuted for possession of illegal substances.
“We’re not there to investigate the party, we’re there to help your friend,” Ames said.
If you plan to have a party of your own, consider that as a residence renter or owner, you are responsible for whatever happens under your roof. Bender said that along with supplying alcohol to minors, you can get in serious trouble for facilitating underage drinking in your home.
After 10 p.m. in Kittitas County, loud noises that can be heard within 50 feet of a residence warrant a noise violation. To avoid having the police show up at your party, keep the noise to a reasonable level. Noise violation fines start at $500 for each person living at the residence and double for violations that follow, according to the Kittitas County government website.
Ames said that the best way to avoid noise complaints is to be a good neighbor. One man who is planning a party for Halloween said that he will only allow people he knows into the party, and he has already told his neighbors that if they have any problem with the noise they can come right to him. He wishes to stay anonymous to avoid more people showing up at the party.