Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

A blog for PIs and writers/readers of the PI genre

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Archive for the ‘PI Topics’ Category

Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes: Top 10 Posts in 2018

Posted by Writing PIs on December 28, 2018

As we wrap up 2018, below are our readers’ 10 favorite posts this year. Thank you to everyone who’s dropped by this year as well as preceding years—next year will mark Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes’ ten-year anniversary!

Ranking is #1 through #10, with #1 having the most reader views in 2018:

#10 Private Investigators and Murder Cases This was a 2012 guest post by Colleen Collins at crime fiction book reviewer Elizabeth A. White’s blog (renamed Editing by Elizabeth as she now specializes as a story editor).

#9 Investigating Crime Scenes: Police vs. Private Investigators This 2015 post discusses different facets of crime scene investigations, from deception to subjects to cold vs. live crime scenes.

Copyright Lisa Cejka 2018

#8 Female Private Eyes Walked These Mean Streets, Too Some people, including John Semley, who wrote the article “The Death of the Private Eye for the New York Times, seem to think only men have been shamuses in fiction. No, women were dicks, too, going back to 1864 with Mrs. Paschal, commonly viewed as the first female private detective in literature.

#7 National and International Private Investigator Day: History of the Private Eye History of the PI, from Eugene Francois Vidocq, recognized as the first private eye in 1833, to current-day private detectives.

#6 National Cyber Security Awareness Month: A Ransomware True Story and Security Tips A true story about cyber-criminals who hacked into, and took over, a writer’s computer, as well as tips and related articles on cyber security.

#5 Answering a Writer’s Question: Can a Private Investigator Get Romantically Involved with a Client? Seems Sam Spade got amorous with most of the femme fatales who crossed his path. Although there aren’t always legal restrictions, there are often ethical ones to consider in the real world of PIs.

#4: A Tribute to James Garner’s Iconic Private Eye Jim Rockford I originally wrote this post in 2014 after hearing of James Garner’s passing, then updated it the following year. Who didn’t love the cool, droll, anti-hero Jim Rockford, a PI who’d rather go fishing then be sleuthing cases.

James Garner as PI Rockford (R) in photo still from THE ROCKFORD FILES (image is in public domain)

#3: How to Conduct a Trash Hit: A Private Investigator’s Dumpster Secrets: This has been one of our readers’ favorite posts over the years. At our PI agency, we’ve conducted dozens of trash hits. Foraging through trash is like an archeological dig—ya get down and dirty, but what’s uncovered can break a case clean open.

#2 Private vs. Public Investigators: What’s the Difference? Ever since we kicked off Guns, Gams,and Gumshoes in 2009, this post has been readers’ #1, most-read post, every single year…until this year when it got bumped to #2 for…

#1: From Pup to Courthouse Therapy Dog, Part 1 Readers’ favorite post this year was based on our Rottweiler pup, Traveller, who’s on a journey (along with her owners) to one day being a courtroom therapy dog. Article discusses differences between service dogs and therapy dogs; the training and work of a courtroom therapy dog; the story of Rosie, the first courthouse therapy dog in New York; and related links to therapy dog training and certification.

Thank you, readers, for being part of Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes. Here’s to a healthy, happy 2019 for all of us!

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Do not copy or distribute any content without written permission of the author. Images in the public domain are captioned as such; all other images are either copyrighted or licensed by the author, who does not have the legal authority to share with others.

 

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Shamus Awards 2019: Private Eye Writers of America Accepting Submissions

Posted by Writing PIs on December 12, 2018

PRIVATE EYE WRITERS OF AMERICA ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS

FOR 2019 SHAMUS AWARDS

For Works First Published in the U.S. in 2018

Following are the categories for the Private Eye Writers of America 2019 Shamus Awards for private eye novels and short stories first published in the United States in 2018. The awards will be presented in the fall of 2019.

DEADLINE: Submissions must be postmarked by March 31, 2019. No extensions can be given.

Shamus Committees will forward their final lists to the Shamus Awards Chair by May 31, 2019.

ELIGIBILITY: Eligible works must feature as a main character a person paid for investigative work but not employed for that work by a unit of government. These include traditionally licensed private investigators; lawyers and reporters who do their own investigations; and others who function as hired private agents. These do not include law enforcement officers; other government employees; or amateur, uncompensated sleuths (for example, protagonists in cozy mysteries).

Independently published books (Indies) may be submitted to the Best Original Paperback PI Novel category.

SUBMISSIONS: Please send one copy of each eligible work to all members of the appropriate committee. Do not submit a book to more than one committee.

There is no application fee and no submission form, as a simple cover letter will suffice.

For judging committee addresses and questions, please e-mail PWA judging chair Gay Toltl Kinman at gaykinman@gaykinman.com. If you’re unsure which category to submit your work, email Gay Tolti Kinman before submitting.

BEST HARDCOVER PI NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction published in hardcover in 2018 that is not the author’s first published P.I. novel.

BEST FIRST PI NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction, in hardcover or paperback, first published in 2018 that is the author’s first published novel featuring a private investigator as a main character.

BEST ORIGINAL PAPERBACK PI NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction first published as a paperback original in 2018 that is not the author’s first P.I. novel. Paperback reprints of previously published novels are NOT eligible.

BEST PI SHORT STORY: A work of fiction of 20,000 words or fewer.  Stories first published in an earlier year and reprinted in a magazine, anthology or collection in 2018, are not eligible.

2019 SHAMUS Awards Committees

BEST P.I. SHORT STORY COMMITTEE

Terence Faherty, Chair

BEST FIRST P.I. NOVEL COMMITTEE

Colleen Collins, Chair

BEST P.I. NOVEL COMMITTEE

Thomas Donahue, Chair

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL P.I. NOVEL

Brad Parks, Chair

Please do not copy or otherwise distribute any images in this posting as the author does not have legal authority to share these images with others.

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Two Memorable Christmas Cases, Funny to Heartfelt

Posted by Writing PIs on December 4, 2018

As Christmas approaches, we remember two of our favorite investigation stories that occurred during the holidays, from the funny to the heartfelt.

Story #1: Serving Divorce Papers to a Happy Jailer

Several years ago, an angry soon-to-be-ex-wife told her attorney that she wanted divorce papers served on her soon-to-be-ex-husband on Christmas Day. No other day would do. Not Christmas Eve, not the day after Christmas. Had to be Christmas Day. The Happy Holidaysdivorce papers were to be her Christmas gift to the husband whom she had recently learned was keeping a girlfriend on the side.

The attorney contacted us and asked if we’d be willing to fulfill her Christmas wish. After hearing the story, we said yes. The husband was a deputy in a local jail, and was scheduled to work on Christmas Day.

That day, we drove to the jail, politely asked for him, and after he confirmed his identity, we served him the papers.

He read the first page, looked up at us, grinned, then exclaimed, “This might be the best Christmas gift I’ve ever had!”

Story #2: A Young Father Facing Months in Jail

handcuffed hands

One long-ago Christmas Eve, one of the Writing PIs, at the time working as a defense lawyer, went to court for the initial appearance of a young father accused of a restraining order violation on his ex-wife. Without a lower bond, he could lose his job, his home, and miss opportunities to spend time with his sons. The young father was facing up to six months in jail if found guilty on all counts.

The lawyer-half of Writing PIs pointed out to the judge that, at worst, the young man was guilty of contacting his ex-wife so he could obtain a much-needed antibiotic medicine for the youngest son who had a bad ear infection. The judge saw through the ex-wife’s hysterics and false accusations, and set bail at a Christmas Eve bargain of $50 cash.

We were asleep on the night before Christmas when awoken by the beeping of one of our cell phones. The young man had texted that he’d been released from jail and would be spending Christmas with his sons.

We didn’t mind being woken up—it was a terrific way to start Christmas Day.

Happy holidays, Writing PIs

The Zen Man by Colleen Collins

It’s just another ho-ho-hum lawyers’ Christmas party…until one of them is murdered.

Click on above banner to go to The Zen Man Amazon page

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Please do not copy/distribute any images as they are either copyrighted or licensed by the author, who does not have the legal authority to share with others.

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National and International Private Investigator Day: History of the Private Eye

Posted by Writing PIs on July 24, 2018

Eugene Francois Vidocq, recognized as the first P.I.

Eugene Francois Vidocq, b. July 24, 1775

National and International Private Investigator Day is July 24, also the birthdate of Eugene Francois Vidocq, recognized as the first private eye.

Vidocq Introduced Criminal Investigation Techniques

In 1833 Eugene Francois Vidocq, a French ex-criminal, founded one of the first private detective agencies, Le bureau des renseignments (Office of Intelligence) where he oversaw the work of other detectives, many ex-criminals such as himself.  He is credited with having introduced record-keeping, criminology, and ballistics to criminal investigation.  He also created indelible ink and unalterable bond paper with his printing company. Apparently, he had an altruistic bent as he claimed he never informed on anyone who had stolen for real need.

With Vidocq, the private investigator was born.  As the industry evolved, clients often hired PIs to act in law enforcement capacities, especially in matters for which they were not equipped or willing to do. This led to PI agencies sometimes performing like private militia and assisting companies in labor disputes.

Pinkerton National Detective Agency

Allan Pinkerton

Allan Pinkerton

Allan Pinkerton was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on August 25, 1819, and emigrated to the United States in 1842, where he founded a barrel-making shop in Dundee, forty miles outside Chicago. As an abolitionist, he set up his shop to also be a station for slaves escaping via the “underground railroad” for freedom in the northern states. After his work helping bust up a counterfeit ring, the Cook County sheriff offered Pinkerton a job as an investigator in Chicago. Within a few years, he accumulated more arrests for burglaries and murders than any of the other police officers within the department. He also gained a reputation for being fearless, having an iron-clad integrity and the ability to quickly read people.

Pinkertons’ Ops’ Ethics

In 1850, Allan Pinkerton established the Pinkerton National Detective Agency at 151 Fifth Avenue in the heart of Chicago.  In an era with many law enforcement personnel openly associating with criminals sharing their illegal profits, Pinkerton stood out by promising that his agents would not only produce results, but always act with the highest ethics.   He promised to:

  • Accept no bribes
  • Never compromise with criminals;
  • Partner with local law enforcement agencies, when necessary
  • Refuse divorce cases or cases that initiated scandals of clients
  • Turn down reward money (his agents were paid well)
  • Never raise fees without the client’s pre-knowledge, and
  • Apprise clients on an ongoing basis.

It’s remarkable how many of the above ethical standards are mirrored in many PIs’ standards today (such as regularly apprising clients, partnering with law enforcement, and raising fees only with clients’ knowledge).  It’s also amusing to read how Pinkerton’s men refused divorce cases considering today many PIs specialize in marital investigations.

A Master at Marketing

Besides being an outstanding investigator, Pinkerton was also a master promoter of his agency. He made sure news of his investigators’ successes at catching murderers and thieves became newspaper stories. He also crafted a logo, an eye surrounded with the words “We Never Sleep,” the motto of his agency, and posted it in magazines, circulars, newspapers, billboards, and even wanted posters.

In 1856, Pinkerton hired Kate Warne as his first female investigator, which was highly unusual at the time. According to the Pinkerton website, police departments did not hire women to join their ranks until 1891, nor did they get promoted to be investigators until 1903.

Kate Warne: First Female U.S. Private Eye

There is little biographical information known about Kate Warne, although some sources claim she was born in 1833 in New York, and was a widow with no children. Allan Pinkerton described her as a slender, brown-haired woman who, in 1856, responded to an ad for detectives at the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Pinkerton presumed she was there to inquire about a clerical job. Later, he said that she demanded to be a private detective, and that he eventually hired her for that role on August 23, 1856. By 1860, Pinkerton had hired several more women to be detectives, calling them his “Female Detective Bureau” which was supervised by Warne.

Dead Ends While Researching Warne

Possible sketch of Kate Warne

Possible sketch of Kate Warne

Lynn H. Levy, owner and president of L.H. Levy Investigations, Inc., in Baltimore is currently writing a book about ten female investigators, including Kate Warne. In her research, Levy dug through 72 boxes in the Pinkerton archives at the Library of Congress, but due to a fire at the Pinkerton offices years before (likely the result of the Chicago fire in 1871), there was very little information about the agency in the 1850s.

In her further research on Kate Warne, Levy said, “I read every book published about Pinkerton, and there was enough information to get a full chapter about Kate. I found a few drawings of her and some photos that they believed were of her, but we don’t really know. She was born in New York and I’ve been trying to find out anything I can from sources there. They’re not even sure that was her last name. Up until she walked into Pinkerton’s office, there’s very little written about her.”

 Warne’s Most Famous Case

In 1861, Kate Warne helped foil an assassination attempt on President-elect Abraham Lincoln on his travels to Washington, D.C. for his inauguration. According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s article “Saving Mr. Lincoln,” Warne accompanied Pinkerton and four other operatives from his agency to Baltimore where Pinkerton had heard a plot to assassinate Lincoln would take place. According to other sources, she both helped to coordinate the operatives as well as to devise a strategy for getting Lincoln safely from Baltimore to Washington, D.C.

Warne and Pinkerton’s Relationship

Pinkerton’s brother Robert wasn’t happy with Kate Warne’s agency expenses as he believed they included funds his brother diverted for gifts and travels with Kate as his mistress. Pinkerton never confirmed such a relationship. Nor is there any documentation written by Kate, not even a letter, to offer any of her insights about her life.

In 1868, Kate fell ill, and Pinkerton stayed by her side, nursing her, until she died. Some say she suffered from pneumonia and that her death was sudden, other sources say it was a lengthy, painful illness that is unknown.

Pinkerton had her buried in his family plot at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, with a spot reserved next to her for him when he died. In his will decades later, he dictated that Kate’s plot was never to be sold. They remain buried next to each other to this day.

Current-Day Private Investigators

By the 1920s, due to the expanding middle class in America, the private investigator became better known to the average citizen. Since then, the PI industry has continued to grow as it fills the needs of the public (who retain PIs to work on cases like infidelity, fraud, and criminal defense investigations). Licensing requirements, with criteria a PI must meet, have also been regulated in most states in the U.S.

Additionally, professional organizations (regional, national, and international) combined with good business practices have cast the PI career in a more respected light versus its outdated, fictional reputation as the wrinkled trench coat, fallen-from-grace Sam Spade figure found in books and film.


 

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Any use of the content requires specific, written authority. 

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Safety Tips for St. Patrick’s Day

Posted by Writing PIs on March 16, 2018

happy st patricks day shamrock

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, a day devoted to green beer and lots of partying. It’s great to get together with friends and have fun, but not so great to get arrested for breaking a law while intoxicated.

Top Three Reasons For Getting Arrested

  1. Drinking and Driving: Here’s a sobering fact: between 2009 and 2013, 276 people died on St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. due to drunken driving accidents (information from TSM, Traffic Safety Marketing). Another sobering statistic: From 2008 through 2012, half of the men killed in crashes on St. Patrick’s Day were drinking and driving (info from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Simple way around this: Don’t Drink and Drive. Go partying with a friend who is the designated driver or travel by taxi.
  2. Public Intoxication: Although each state has its own definition of public intoxication, below are a few shared elements of the crime:
    – Being visibly drunk or under the influence of drugs while in a public place.
    – Appearing to be intoxicated in a public place (that’s right, appearances alone can get you arrested).
  3. Urinating in Public: This includes urinating between parked cars, on walls, even lawns. If you gotta go, go before you go outside.

A Few More Safety Tips

A little common sense can ensure you and others have a safe, fun St. Patrick’s Day celebration:

  • Plan How You’re Getting Home Ahead of Time. Be it by taxi, designated driver, public transportation, or one of the numerous sober-drive-home services offered in different cities.
  • If You’re Traveling with a Designated Driver, Leave Your Car Keys at Home.
  • If You See a Drunk Driver on the Road, Call the Police. This could save many people’s lives.
  • If You See Someone Who’s Drunk Getting Ready to Drive: Gently take away their keys and help them find a safe way home. Better yet, call a taxi and pay for it upfront.

Have a great St. Patrick’s Day, Writing PIs

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International Women’s Day: Honoring Female Investigators

Posted by Writing PIs on March 8, 2018

International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900s. On this day, thousands of events occur around the world to celebrate women and their accomplishments.

For International Women’s Day, I’m honoring female PIs through articles written about them to radio shows hosted by them. This post isn’t meant to be all-inclusive by any means, just a cross-section of outstanding female investigators, including their fictional counterparts.

Radio Shows: New and Old

Below are two radio shows, one hosted by a contemporary female PI, the other about an old-time radio female private eye.

PI’s Declassified

California PI Francie Kohler hosts this weekly Internet radio show where she interviews private investigators and other professionals in associated fields. The show airs every Thursday at 9 a.m. Pacific Time: PI’s Declassified.

Old-Time Radio: Candy Matson Yukon 2-8209cover ebook 2000px longest side

This old-time radio show kicked off in 1949. Every show opened with a ringing telephone with a female answering, “Candy Matson, YU 2-8209,” after which the theme song “Candy” played.

According to the Internet Archive, Old Time Radio (OTR) researchers view this radio show as the best of the female private eyes. It ran until 1951. Listen to single episodes here: Candy Matson YUkon 2-8209.

Articles About Real-Life Female Private Investigators

Possible sketch of Kate Warne, the first U.S. female PI

Possible sketch of Kate Warne, the first U.S. female PI

Below is a sampling of articles written about female PIs:

The First U.S. Female Private Eye: Kate Warne (The Zen Man)

Q&A: Norma Tillman–Right and Wrong (Pursuit Magazine)

What Does It Take to Be an International Private Eye (interview with international private investigator Yin Johnson and her husband Phil, via RC Bridgestock Blog)

What Is It Like Being a Female Private Investigator? (The Zen Man)

This Private Investigator is One of the Few Jersey Women Working as Sleuths (NJ.com)

Articles About Fictional Female Private Eyes

There are many entertaining female “eyes” in literature, going back to the mid 1800s.

Dangerous Dames: A Timeline of Some of the Significant Female Eyes (The Thrilling Detective – if you haven’t checked out The Thrilling Detective, you’re missing out on one of the most comprehensive and entertaining sites about fictional private eyes on the ‘net)

Female Private Eyes in Fiction: From Lady Detectives to Hard-Boiled Dames (by Guns, Gams & Gumshoes’s Colleen for Festivale magazine)

Sara Paretsky Interview: “I start each VI Warshawski book convinced I can’t do it” (interview with Sara Paretsky in The Guardian. By the way, Paretsky does do it, and beautifully, every time she starts a new VI Warshawski novel.

Have a great week, Writing PIs

Click on cover to go to Amazon page

Click on cover to go to Amazon page

“As an experienced private detective and a skilled storyteller, Colleen Collins is the perfect person to offer a glimpse into the lives of real female P.I.s”
~ Kim Green, managing editor of Pursuit Magazine: The Magazine of Professional Investigators

 

 

 


All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Any use of the content requires specific, written authority.

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Five Holiday Safety Tips

Posted by Writing PIs on December 3, 2017

As the holidays approach, our work load invariably picks up as more criminal cases come into the office. Sometimes on a festive evening, such as New Year’s Eve, we’ll look at each other and say, “Wonder what’s happening tonight that brings in work over the next few weeks or months?” Notice we don’t say “Wonder if something will happen…”

Five Safety Tips

Below are a few safety tips to keep you and yours from hiring attorneys or private investigators over the next few weeks.

Tip #1: When you go shopping, lock your car. It sounds so simple, yet you’d be surprised at the number of people who forget to do this. People get preoccupied with shopping, holiday parties, who’s picking up Great-Aunt Sarah on Christmas Eve…and they forget to lock their car doors. That makes easy pickings for thieves looking through car windows—if they see a package, it can be theirs within seconds. Several years ago, Sergeant Foley of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department claimed that nearly 50 percent of the car break-ins in his area were due to cars being left unlocked.

Tip #2: Park in well-lighted areas. Don’t tempt a thief by parking where there’s little or no lighting.

An unlocked door is an invitation to a criminal

Unlocked Doors Are Open Invitations to Criminals

Tip #3: Avoid parking on side streets. Vehicles parked on secluded side streets are easy prey for thieves. Also, with increased holiday traffic, and drivers preoccupied with cell phone conversations, passengers, or even eating while driving, your vehicle might be the victim of a hit-and-run.

Tip #4: Drink responsibly.

You Don't Want to Wear One of these Bracelets This Holiday

You Don’t Want to Wear One of These Bracelets This Holidays

Yeah, this sounds like one of those ads, but it is smart advice. Many of our criminal investigation cases involve people drinking too much and doing something stupid that they regret for years to come.

Watch the other guy, too —is someone getting blitzed and out of control at a party? Be proactive and make sure he/she has a sober driver to take them home. Or call a taxi and pay the driver upfront for the person’s ride home, which might be the best holiday gift they get. Also if a party is getting out of control, it’s a good time to leave.

Tip #5: Be aware. Perhaps the best advice is to be aware and use common sense.  Don’t carry so many packages to your vehicle that you can’t quickly reach your cell phone or car keys. Shop in groups rather than alone. If you have a choice to shop during the day or at night, pick daylight hours. Don’t leave items visible in your car that might tempt a thief. Have fun at parties, but drink responsibly and avoid those who aren’t.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season!

(Click on banner, below, to go to Amazon page)

A heartfelt, humorous, romantic-mystery story about a down-on-her-luck lawyer, a special agent visited by the past, and an arson dog named Maggie who join forces to rescue the holiday spirit!

“Mistletoe and Murder in Las Vegas” is Colleen Collins at her best. It’s got the charm and humor of the best romantic comedies combined with a genuinely good mystery–an unbeatable combination. I couldn’t put the book down once I started it.” ~Nancy Warren, USA Today Bestselling Author

wreath line

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins and Shaun Kaufman. Do not copy/distribute any content without written permission from the authors. 

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What Is Expectation of Privacy?

Posted by Writing PIs on November 1, 2017

woman peeking thru blinds licensed by C Collins

In a nutshell, expectation of privacy is a zone of protection created by constitutional law against unreasonable searches and seizures.

How Does Expectation of Privacy Affect You?

Most people don’t value their expectation of privacy until a government agent (such as police or health inspectors) intrude onto their property without authorization. Another area in which people don’t always value their expectation of privacy is in their personal computers. The founding fathers wanted people to be secure in their “homes and papers,” but no one has ever doubted that the Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy also applies to individuals’ personal computers and other electronic devices.

PIs and Expectation of Privacy

Below are a few slides from a presentation we gave at a Pikes Peak Writers conference on this topic. The audience wanted an example of how their private eye character might be affected by an expectation of privacy issue in the course of an investigation.

Expectation of Privacy slide 2

Expectation of Privacy slide 3

Have a great November, everyone! Writing PIs

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Please do not copy, distribute, or otherwise use any of this article without written permission from the author.

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Tips for Your Safeguarding Your Halloween Haunted House

Posted by Writing PIs on October 25, 2017

It’s that time of year when people stretch cobwebs on porches, prop plastic gravestones in front yards, string flashing lights everywhere, and my favorite—arrange mechanized life-sized creeping zombies that crawl and moan. These decorations mean it’s also the time of year to ensure safe conditions around your spook house.

Five Safety Tips

  1. Keep walkways dry and clear from anything that might trip your visitors. This includes cords and crawling zombies.
  2. haunted house2

    If the area outside the house is dark, trick-or-treaters might stumble and fall.

    Maintain good lighting for your candy-hunting guests in areas where they walk up to your doorway. Keep in mind that many children are wearing masks that can block their vision, and that children might be running as they approach your front door. Dark-tinted lights and flashing strobes are a recipe for trouble, even if they look fantastic. One idea: Try the “Christmas light style” jack-o-lantern lights on your banisters and stairways to highlight handrails.

  3. Use extension cords for electrical items in the yard that are rated for outdoor use to avoid electrical shorts and fires.
  4. Secure yard decorations (wooden signs and faux grave markers) from the bold fall wind.
  5. Direct traffic at your doorway. Limit the number of trick or treaters coming up to the door to prevent chaos and possible injuries when departing ghouls bump into arriving ghosts. You might try being on the porch during the busiest hours to hand-out candy.

Enjoy a safe, fun Halloween!

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Please do not copy, distribute, or otherwise use any of this article without written permission from the author.

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5 Tips for Having a DUI-Free Halloween

Posted by Writing PIs on October 23, 2017

The origins of Halloween go back to the Celts who marked the day as the end of harvest season and beginning of winter. The day itself was thought of as a bridge to the world of the dead.

Today Halloween is a fun day filled with candy, costumes, and parties. And not just for kids, but for grown-ups, too. For the latter, here’s a few suggestions to have a good time without getting a DUI (drinking under the influence).

Five Tips For Not Being Haunted By A DUI On Halloween

Tip #1: Don’t Over-Imbibe. Your blood alcohol level is a major factor in determining if you will be charged and convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). Although there are variables in how people’s bodies metabolize, or burn off, alcohol, here’s a general rule of thumb: For every ounce of alcohol consumed, wait 90-120 minutes before drinking another ounce.

Each of the following drinks contains approximately an ounce of alcohol:

  • 12-oz. can of beer
  • 1.25-oz. shot of hard liquor
  • 6-oz. glass of wine.

Tip #2Don’t Wear a Mask While Driving. Officers must have reasons for pulling over drivers they suspect might have been drinking. One reason is if the driver is wearing a mask—an officer might say it obscured your vision while driving, and then the officer might assess if you have been drinking.

Tip #3Eating fatty, spicy food to trick a breathalyzer test is an urban legend. Some people think consuming greasy, spicy foods (think a big plate of enchiladas smothered in cheese, chilis and onions) will help them beat a breathalyzer test as the food lowers the alcohol content in their system. Well, such foods might mask the odor of alcohol on one’s breath, but they do absolutely nothing to lower the alcohol content.

Tip #4: Plan for Sober Driving Options. Best idea of all is to plan ahead for how to travel safely—here are a few ideas:

  • Designate who is the sober driver for the evening if you’re out with a group of people.
  • Call a taxi.
  • Pre-program numbers into your phone for safe ride options in your city, such as Curb (formerly TaxiMagic) or Lyft.

Tip #5: Don’t Pull a Reese Witherspoon. If you’re a passenger in a car that’s been pulled over, remember what happened to Reese Witherspoon who, as the drunk passenger in a car, got loud and crazy with the cop. Next thing the famous movie star knew, she was starring in her very own mug shot. Law officers can cite others in a vehicle for interference or obstruction.

Follow these tips and enjoy a safe, fun Halloween!

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Please do not copy, distribute, or otherwise use any of this material without written permission from the author.

Posted in PI Topics | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on 5 Tips for Having a DUI-Free Halloween

 
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