It is Halloween weekend and Texas A&M students are likely to observe this holiday in a quiet, civil manner -- right?

Not really. And that's fine, as long students follow a few basic legal guidelines.

First, if you have a house party and serve alcohol, you should know that in some ways, you might be responsible if one of your guests gets a DUI or winds up in some sort other sort of trouble. This is called "social host liability." Essentially, it dictates that if you served alcohol to a person you knew or should have known was already intoxicated, you bear some responsibility for any bad behavior they conduct afterwards. This is more than just your buddy claiming you owe him Jimmy John's after he has a rough night -- it could apply if your friend damages property or, as we mentioned, gets cited for driving under the influence.

As long as we are on the topic of house parties, it is absolutely imperative that you make sure all your guests are over 21. Police in Bryan and College Station do not really care why you made an exception; they will ticket you for serving alcohol to a minor regardless of any reason you give them.

Finally, if you have friends over, it is fine to serve them a moderate amount of alcohol. Under no circumstances should you charge them for it, though. The police will see that as operating an unlicensed tavern. The penalties for that offense can be very, very expensive and it looks really bad on your record.

As you can see, most of this advice is grounded in plain and simple common sense. As long as you keep your wits about you this Oct. 31, you should be fine. If something happens, through, remember that criminal defense attorneys do not consider Halloween one of those holidays on which they don't have to work.

Source: FindLaw Blotter, "Halloween Laws: Keep Your Halloween Party Legal," Stephanie Rabiner, Oct. 18, 2011