After a few years of quarantined holidays, you might be ready to go all out this year. Large parties and crowded festivals are calling your name.
But before you strap on your dance shoes and head out for any end-of-the-year shindigs, make a plan for partying safely. (And we’re not just talking about alcohol.)
Tell someone where you’ll be.
Let other people know your plans for the night — where you’re going and how you’ll get there and back. That information could become vitally important if something goes wrong.
Plus, laying out your plans forces you to think through them. As a result, you’ll go into your evening better prepared for whatever may come.
Make a plan for getting home.
Know how you’re going to get home at the end of the night. Pick someone to be a designated driver, or schedule a ride from someone who’s not attending the event. Download a public transportation schedule, or install a ride-share app.
For plans that involve walking, make sure you’re in a group. Stick to busy, well-lit streets as much as possible.
Always have a backup idea in mind. That way, you won’t be scrambling last-minute if your original strategy doesn’t work out. If your designated driver ends up having a few drinks, for example, then you’ll need a backup driver on call.
If all your other plans fall through, call a taxi or a ride-share service. It’s a safer choice than accepting a ride from someone you’ve just met, even if that someone is a mutual friend.
Stick with a group.
Don’t party alone, and don’t let your friends party alone. This is one of the most important safety tips to keep in mind.
Use the buddy system throughout the night. That means knowing where your friends are and telling them what you’re doing. Plan to leave with the same people you arrived with.
Throughout the night, look out for each other’s safety. If you see anyone harassing or pressuring your friends, intervene. Guide them to a different area of the room, give them a way to bow out of the conversation, or decide to wrap up the night early.
Pick a rendezvous spot.
As hard as you try to stick with your group, you might still end up separated. Things happen. Ideally, you can quickly text or call to find your friends, but you may lose your phone or have a dead battery.
Identify a meetup spot before you go out and make sure everyone knows it. If anyone gets separated, everyone should go to the rendezvous point and wait for the others.
Food and Drinks
Balance eating and drinking.
Put food and water in your stomach before the party begins. It will be easier to maintain your stamina and resist overindulgence.
Know your limits ahead of time, too. Drinking too much makes it easy to let your guard down. Make a plan for how much alcohol you can safely consume — and stick to it.
Throughout the night, keep food in your stomach. This will help slow the absorption of alcohol.
Also, remember that alcohol is no substitute for water. Stay hydrated, especially if you plan to dance the night away.
Guard your drinks.
Drugs don’t usually change the smell or flavor of a drink. Protecting yourself requires being alert at all times.
First off, buy your own drinks. It’s safer than accepting drinks from others. Treat any drinks that come in open-top containers as suspicious, particularly if you don’t know the source.
Once you have a drink, keep an eye on it at all times. Turning away for even a moment could allow someone to drop something into your glass.
You can buy drink covers to help prevent people from putting things in your drink. But don’t let a slipcover replace vigilance.
Pack the essentials.
Before leaving home, make sure you have a few critical items:
- Credit card
Your phone is your lifeline. If you get separated from your friends or need a ride, a working cell phone will be invaluable. Make sure your device is fully charged before you head out for the night. If you’ll be out for a while and have space for it, slip a portable charger in your bag or pocket. You can get thin ones that don’t take up much space.
Use your front pockets.
Pickpockets can easily lift items from your back pockets. Purses are easy to grab, too. Put your most important items in your front pockets so that you’re less likely to lose them.
If you want to carry additional items in a purse, choose one that closes securely. It should have a crossbody strap so that it’s harder to snatch.
Dress for safety.
Looking great isn’t the most important thing when it comes to dressing for an event. You have to keep mobility in mind.
Wear shoes you can move in. If you need to get away quickly, you don’t want to be held back by unsteady footwear. Choose closed-toe varieties over sandals so that your toes won’t get smashed in a moving crowd.
Prioritize safety as you choose your outfit, too. Loose, flowy garments might get caught on something or grabbed by someone with bad intentions.
Note: this isn’t about modesty. It’s about practicality and safety. Wear clothing that you’re comfortable in and that you know how to move in.
Identify the exits.
As soon as you arrive somewhere, survey the scene. You need to know where the exits are in case you have to leave quickly for any reason.
Be aware of more than one route as well. That way, even if one option is blocked, you’ll have a backup in mind.
Remember, you don’t have to stay until the very end of an event. Leaving early could keep you from getting swept up by the crowd at the end of the night.
Understand how to move in a crowd.
Partying with a group is fun, but crowds can become dangerous.
Don’t try to walk through a crowd. When possible, go around the perimeter instead. That’s especially valuable information when you’re trying to navigate your way out of a building. If you stick to the walls, you’ll eventually reach an exit.
If you’re in the middle of a group that starts crushing or stampeding, do what you can to get to the outside. When the crowd is moving forward, go with them. Don’t try to hold your ground.
If the flow of traffic stops, move in a diagonal path. It may allow you to find gaps between people and squeeze through. Along the way, cross your arms in front of your chest to prevent anyone from pushing too close.
If you fall down, curl up and protect your head the best you can. Stand up and move again as soon as you can.
Know when to go.
If there are more people than the space can truly accommodate, head out. Even in a smaller crowd, don’t stick around if people are getting riled up.
If you smell anything odd, particularly smoke, evacuate immediately. Don’t wait to see whether the threat is real. Once everyone starts to rush for the doors, chaos ensues. Act quickly to beat the stampede.
Finally, choose to wrap up the evening while you’re still in control. Rather than waking up tomorrow morning with regrets, you’ll have only great memories of an epic night.