The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in Orange County and Community Alliance Network recently announced a list of Halloween party guidelines, devised to help parents and adults keep teens safe and to prevent underage drinking.

"This time of year is busy for teens with Halloween costume parties, and house parties are a prime source by which youth obtain alcohol," Tereh Glass of NCAAD-OC said. "According to the 2008 California Healthy Kids Survey, 74% of 11th-graders and 59% of ninth-graders across Orange County report that it is easy to get alcohol."

Alcohol is the most abused substance among Orange County youth; it can lead to consequences like blacking out and memory loss, emotional problems, trouble with the law enforcement, death by alcohol poisoning, risky sexual behavior, injuries, suicide and drunken driving, she said.

The organization encourages parents to hold alcohol-free parties and to follow a list of guidelines to ensure their kids don't drink.

Parents should call all parents who are hosting parties and ask them if they will ensure an alcohol-free party; ask the host when the party will end; consider saying "no" to any sleep over plan; be awake when teens return home and greet them; look for signs of alcohol/drug use; and make a plan with teens to call home if alcohol is present at the party or if they are going somewhere else.

Party hosts should plan the party with teens and stick to the pre-determined guest list; have sufficient responsible chaperones; be visible and circulate the party often; not allow anyone to leave the party and then return; not allow water bottles or backpacks; communicate with other parents; and establish off-limit areas of the house and lock liquor and medicine cabinets.

For more information on the Underage Drinking Prevention Project, contact Grace Tan at (949) 595-2288 ext. 315 or gtan@canoc.org.