The spookiest night of the year is just around the corner. Celebrated by the young and the old, Halloween can be a great family fun night for everyone in North Carolina.
Often, though, teenagers would rather be having ghoulish fun with their friends. There’s nothing wrong with this on its face… but frequently that translates to having a party with alcohol.
Underage drinking is a major problem for teens in North Carolina, and as a parent or guardian, you have a responsibility to make sure that your teen is not getting up to no good.
Real-life consequences can occur for both you and your teenager if they are caught drinking on Halloween, so you need to know what he or she will be doing on the night. Along with knowing their plans, having a full understanding of the laws relating to the offense is also vital.
Understanding What North Carolina Teens Really Do on Halloween
You probably already know that Halloween parties are common. Millennials are participating in them in record numbers, and you’ve likely gone to some yourself as an adult.
What you might not realize, though, is just how popular they are with teens – and even adolescents. Once your child gets past the age when trick or treating is fun, Halloween parties become the norm.
The attractions are easy to see – there is usually a lack of parental supervision, and most if not all of the attendees will be dressed up in fun costumes. Unfortunately, this type of environment is the perfect storm for teens to experiment with drinking, often with the encouragement of their friends.
Other common events for teens on Halloween that attract underage drinking include gathering in public places, carpooling with friends, and sneaking into establishments like bars and nightclubs.
The reason you might not realize this is simple – your kid isn’t telling you.
How Will Your Teen Be Spending Halloween?
Understanding the appeal of Halloween for a teen is just the beginning. You need to have an honest conversation with them about what their plans are, who they will be hanging out with, and whether they plan on drinking.
Getting caught with alcohol is no joke, and if they are caught, don’t expect police officers to be lenient on Halloween.
The Laws for Underage Drinking in North Carolina
Both you and your teen need to be aware of are the laws regarding underage drinking in North Carolina (as well as their punishments). 18B-302 states that it is unlawful for alcohol to be sold, purchased, consumed, or possessed by minors.
Minors also cannot use fraudulent identification to buy or enter establishments where alcohol is sold or try to enter them without proper ID.
We recommend that you inform your teen of these laws before Halloween so they are aware of what is considered law-breaking behavior before they are tempted by it.
North Carolina’s View on Adult Compliance With Underage Drinking
For those who are helping their teen obtain alcohol – you will also face charges if you are caught. It is illegal for anyone to give, sell, or to help a minor to get alcohol.
If you or your teen are convicted of an underage drinking crime the punishment could severely impact your day to day life.
In most cases, a conviction will mean a Class 1 Misdemeanor. This will result in a penalty of 45 days of a “community punishment” probation, as well as a potential fine if the judge deems it necessary.
This misdemeanor offense can also lead to a suspension of their driving license for a year. This can have a monumental impact on teens in many ways, such as not being able to drive to work, a loss of freedom, and a general inconvenience.
If an adult is convicted of this misdemeanor, they may be eligible for limited driving privileges. However, this is not guaranteed.
Halloween Drinking in NC Poses Health Risks, Too
Not only could your teen be facing criminal charges, but drinking may also bring about physical harm as well.
Each year there are more than 5,000 deaths due to the effects of underage drinking, with the major events being motor vehicle crashes, homicides, and suicides. It can also lead to many major health problems, and teens who drink before they turn 15 are four times more likely to encounter alcohol dependence during their lives.
No matter which way you look at it, underage drinking on Halloween is not worth it. It could lead to the loss of their driver’s license, fines, or – worst of all – them becoming a statistic.
Halloween can be plenty of fun without drinking. Make sure they understand their options and potential consequences, and be clear that if they do drink and need a way home, their first call should be to you.