VCkidsFYI: Spooks, goblins and alcohol. Know the law

Ventura County Behavioral Health

In Ventura County, 9% of 7th graders, 20% of 9th graders and 31% of 11th graders currently use alcohol.

Did you know?

  • Children who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crime, to be involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes, and to have serious school-related problems.
  • 37% of 7th graders, 16% of 9th graders and 22% of 11th graders have ridden in a car driven by someone who had been drinking alcohol.
  • Parents can have a major impact on their children’s drinking.
Halloween is a big deal for teens. Being a responsible parent involves knowing what can happen at teen parties, and ensuring that if you host a party, you know the social host laws in your city.

Your Home. Your Fine.

Social Host Ordinances in Ventura County are local laws with civil penalties (fines) providing law enforcement a tool for addressing underage drinking in home party settings, and to deter those who may host a loud or unruly party. The adult who owns or rents the property is responsible, no matter who provides the alcohol. The fines vary by community, but are up to $2,500.

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How can you keep kids safe?

  • Plan ahead. Know where your child will be. Know the parents of a host party and have the contact information.
  • Talk About It. What are your plans this Halloween? Ask what steps you will take to avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Set clear rules about your expectations on drinking at parties. Set curfew hours and stick to it.
  • Make a contingency plan. Put a plan in place with your child if they are in an unsafe situation where underage drinking happens. Re-enact a scenario and plan a safety strategy.
  • Encourage. You want your children to have fun. Halloween is about celebrating and having a good time. Teach your child that celebrating does not need to include alcohol. Discuss alternatives.
  • Impaired Driving is real. Reinforce not to drive with an impaired driver. Tell your child to make sure that the driver is sober, or to call you if they are unsure.

Remember, talk to your kids about alcohol. Know the consequences of hosting a teen party. Make sure that alcohol and drugs aren’t in the mix.

To Learn More - Easy Tips & Facts

  • Talk about the dangers of drugged driving. Impaired driving often involves alcohol and other drugs, especially marijuana. See the Drugged Driving Risks & Realities campaign. Start now to talk about the realities of drugged driving risks with your child.


If you're concerned about signs of drug use with your child, call (805) 981-9200 to talk with a professional at Ventura County Behavioral Health's Youth Services Program. Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM.

TAGS: Youth, Parents
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