Halloween may be a day of innocent merrymaking for some, but for others, it can involve binge drinking, drunk driving, and property crimes.

Most people likely associate Halloween with carefree costume parties and an overindulgence in sweet treats like candy corn and caramel apples, but the dark side of Halloween is at the other end of the spectrum and includes excessive drinking around Halloween. Unfortunately, some of the statistics surrounding Halloween alcohol use are bleak. 

Startling Halloween Statistics

The amount of drinking that occurs at a college Halloween party is rather startling. According to Halloween drinking statistics found in one study, college students who consume alcohol on Halloween report drinking, on average, 6.3 alcoholic beverages, which is 1.4 more than they ordinarily consume on a weekend night. This finding is troubling, because the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as occurring after four drinks for women and five for men over the course of several hours, so college students are likely engaging in binge drinking on Halloween. 

A second study found that among all the holidays, Halloween ranked number five in terms of the amount of alcohol consumed. Men reported drinking an average of four drinks on Halloween, whereas women reported consuming almost three, on average. Even more troubling is the fact that 9.3 % of men and 6.6 % of women reported they have blacked out from drinking on Halloween. 

Drinking and Driving on Halloween

With all the alcohol consumption that occurs on Halloween, drunk driving is a risk associated with this holiday. This Halloween drinking can be deadly. According to accident statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, on Halloween night in 2016, there were 47 deaths and almost a third were a result of drunk driving. That’s three times the amount on an average day. Furthermore, between 2012 and 2016, nearly one-fourth of pedestrians who were killed on Halloween night were killed by a drunk driver. 

Increase in Crime

Aside from drunk driving, there tends to be a general increase in crime during Halloween. According to reports,between 2006 and 2009, crime in Boston was elevated by 50% on Halloween compared to all other days of the year. Other sources report that insurance claims due to crime are 24% higher on Halloween. Burglaries and vandalism are especially common. 

Alternatives to Drinking on Halloween

With all the drinking and crime surrounding Halloween, it may seem like it is impossible to avoid mischief on this holiday, but there are alternative ways to celebrate Halloween. A sober Halloween can become a reality with activities like corn mazes, pumpkin picking and hayrides. You can also enjoy carving pumpkins, going to a haunted house or seeing a new horror film. You might also enjoy a Halloween bonfire with non-alcoholic beverages like apple cider and hot chocolate. Alcohol is not a necessary component of a Halloween celebration. 

While drinking is common on Halloween, for some, excessive alcohol consumption can be an ongoing problem and lead to an alcohol use disorder. If you or a loved one is living with an alcohol addiction, The Recovery Village has locations around the country and provides services that can help you to achieve sobriety. Call us today to learn more. 

Renee Deveney
Editor – Renee Deveney
As a contributor for Advanced Recovery Systems, Renee Deveney is passionate about helping people struggling with substance use disorder. With a family history of addiction, Renee is committed to opening up a proactive dialogue about substance use and mental health. Read more
Jenni Jacobsen
Medically Reviewed By – Jenni Jacobsen, LSW
Dr. Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker through the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. She has over seven years working in the social work field, working with clients with addiction-related and mental health diagnoses. Read more

Montealegre, Lina, et al. “Caveman, Wonder woman, or too drunk to tell: An evaluation of the effectiveness of a Halloween social norms marketing campaign.”“>“Cavem[…] campaign.” Research Gate, April 2011. Accessed October 7, 2019. 

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Alcohol facts and statistics.”“>“Alcoh[…]tatistics.” August 2018. Accessed October 7, 2019. 

Alcohol.org.Booziest holidays.”“> 2019. Accessed October 7, 2019. 

U.S. Department of Transportation. “Teaming up to help Trick or Treaters.”“>“Teami[…] Treaters.” Accessed October 7, 2019. 

Rendon, Frankle. “Crime spikes on Halloween: Fictional ghost story or factual concern?”“>“Crime[…]l concern?” Huff Post, December 6, 2017. Accessed October 7, 2019.  

Glenn, Alex. “Halloween is no. 1 day for free candy — and property crime.”“>“Hallo[…]rty crime.” USA Today, October 28, 2016. Accessed October 7, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.