When I was a kid, we went Trick-or-Treating by ourselves without a care in the world! Unfortunately we live in a slightly different world these days. And unfortunately, Halloween has become a Holiday that is quite a bit more dangerous than it was before. But, with these simple tips, you can keep your kids safe and still have a great time! Modify the tips depending on your child’s age!
- If possible (or if your kids aren’t too cool yet) always send your children with a chaperon.
Ok, This may be much easier said than done. As your kids get older they are going to want to go with their friends and not Mom. Offer to drive them from street to street as they trick or treat. Tell them you will meet them at the opposite end of the street. Hint to your kids: You get places MUCH faster driving. More places=More Candy!
- Send your kids with a flashlight, glow stick, glow in the dark tape or other light. By having your child carry a flashlight, a lit Trick-or-Treat bag, glowstick etc… not only can you keep an eye on them easier, but they are also much more visible to cars. When kids get excited they tend to dash across the road without looking. By having your child carry a light, accidents with vehicles can be greatly reduced. Want a quick way to make everything glow in the dark EASILY? Check out this amazing glow-in-the-dark Tumble Dye from S.E.I.!
If your child is going to be wearing a mask, make sure they can see out easily. A mask should also be easily removed without any assistance. (Your child should be able to take his/her mask of by themselves). A costume should also be easy to move in and not restrict your movement or the ability to walk and climb stairs.
- Know who your Children are Trick-or-Treating with at all times.
Make sure you know who your children will be with. This way you can keep tabs on where they will be and you can help them map out a safe and appropriate Trick-or-Treating route. (See Below) If you are unfamiliar with where your children will be going or who they will be going with, make a change of plans or talk to the other children’s parents.
- Make a Trick-or-Treat route/map and always know where your kids will be during Trick-or-Treating.
Draw or print a map of your area. (Google Maps is great for this). You will know where you can expect to find your children while they are out. You can also mark off any houses that are not approved by you or that you aren’t familiar with. If there are any neighborhoods/streets that you would like you child to stay away from you can mark those off the map as well. You can even make check in times for your child at certain points on the map. (“When you reach this street give me a call and check in.”)This can also be super fun if you find houses or neighborhoods that have well decorated yards, fun activities, or those who go all out during Halloween! If you have the time, scout out the neighborhoods and find some fun homes for your child to go to on their route.
- Only stick to streets and neighborhoods that are familiar to you and your children.
If you are using the map tip, this is very easy to accomplish. If you aren’t familiar with certain streets and neighborhoods around you area, don’t let your kids trick or treat there. Don’t allow them to take shortcuts or back roads that you are not familiar with. Make this known to your child as to why you are not letting them go certain places and why/how it keeps them safe.
- Instruct your children to only approach houses that are well lit, have an easily accessible front door and can be seen from the street.
All houses being approached should have lights on, inside and out and have a well lit or visible pathway to the front door. Do not allow your children to approach any houses that have entry doors that are not visible or are around the back or side of the house. If you are not with your children while they are trick or treating, make sure they know this and know it well. Your children should ALWAYS be able to be seen at all times.
- Check the Registered Sex Offender Website for your area prior to letting your children go Trick-or-Treating. Skip these houses. (In many areas Registered Sex Offenders are not permitted to open their doors to Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween.) To be extra cautious, avoid these homes. Seem a little intense? Well, in today’s world we can’t be too cautious! This is an easy and quick step before your children head out the door. You can simply google a sex offender website for your area. I like to use Family Watchdog. This website gives you the sex offenders location, a picture, age, gender, descriptive information, their charges, any other known aliases and much more information that you may find helpful.
- Set a curfew.
Make a curfew of when you expect your child home. This way you know when they are going to be home. If they are late, you know when to worry!
- Send your children with a cell phone if possible.
If your child doesn’t have a cell phone and you or your spouse can part with yours let your child take it with them. As mentioned above, have check in points where your child is supposed to call you. You can also call and check in with them as the night goes on. If you really want to get technical, turn on your gps tracker if your child will be using a smart phone.
And lastly, when your children arrive home check ALL candy and treats before they are allowed to eat any. Throw away and open items, any homemade items (Unless you know the person WELL who made them), suspicious items, unrecognized candy, anything without a wrapper and any candy your child is allergic to. (Depending on age, take out any candy that could present a choking hazard.)
Now, as to not make your child mad or upset you may want to have trade in candy available. For any pieces you have to dump replace it with a piece of candy that you have on hand. Maybe pick out a few favorite pieces of candy or bags of candy at the store before hand.
Halloween is one of the most fun and one of my most favorite holidays!!! Be safe, have fun and eat lots of candy!!!