As parents, creating a safe environment for our children is always on our minds. With Halloween just ten days away, it is important that we make sure our kids are going out with so much more than cute costumes. Creating a plan before the big night helps us think ahead of possible scenarios, allowing for more trick-or-treating fun for everyone.
There are a few safety measures that most people take every year, such as not eating unwrapped candy, getting costumes that fit well and are less susceptible to fire, carrying a flashlight, etc. These are truly important. However, there are other things to take into consideration that sometimes are overlooked by parents due to a false sense of safety within their surroundings.
Living in a “safe neighborhood” sometimes leads parents to allow older kids to trick-or-treat on their own. However, the potential dangers of letting children walk on their own (even if in groups) are far more than any advantage to not accompanying your children and keeping them safe. I’ve seen children between the ages of 8 and 12 walking without an adult, sometimes in groups, but a few times even on their own. How scary is that?
Letting kids go on their own to knock on strangers’ doors exposes your kids to predators that take advantage of unsupervised minors on the streets. In any case, Halloween, as with any activity or celebration, gives us a great opportunity to spend time as a family and to teach safety to kids by setting examples as you walk the neighborhood and knock on doors.
Here are a few tips for a FUN-tastic Halloween:
Set clear rules 1 of 7
Before going out, state the rules for all the children. Assigning roles to the older ones and making sure you stick with the plan yourself makes it easier for everyone to be on the same page.
Photo credit: Morguefile
Have a route 2 of 7
Talk to your closest neighbors and plan which houses you are going to visit. That way, you can determine the streets you'll be going to and know exactly the doors you'll be knocking. That helps for anyone joining a bit late or staying behind to be able to catch up.
Take a nice shot 3 of 7
These days, taking pictures of about everything we do comes naturally. However, along with those fun images, make sure you take a good one of each child individually. A picture in which your kid's face is clear with the costume they are wearing can serve you in case anyone gets lost.
Don’t go into any house 4 of 7
Even if you know the person, trick-or-treating is about walking around the neighborhood, greeting people, and, of course, getting candy, so no need to go in for a visit. Moreover, as you do that, tell your child how important is to never go inside someone's house for candy.
Plan a party 5 of 7
If you want to make it more fun and make your trick or treating outside shorter, you can host a party for your children and street neighbors. That way, you'd go get candy for a little bit and let your kids be the hosts at home. Fun, easy, and safe!
Reinforce stranger-danger! 6 of 7
This is probably something you've told your kids before; however, it is especially important during Halloween to make sure they don't talk to strangers. Talk to them about strangers driving by and asking for help or directions, and tell them to look for an adult immediately.
Have older kids? Have a plan for them, too! 7 of 7
If you have teenage children you feel are responsible enough to go out on their own, you should still have a plan. Make sure cell phones are fully charged, use an app with tracking device to help locate them on a map, make them call you every so often, and have a time period in which they'll be out and a clear time they should be back home.