One of my favorite things about Halloween is seeing all the children, dressed as their favorite characters from make-believe, excitedly collecting treats as they travel door-to-door. With a few simple rules and precautions, we can ensure that this holiday tradition is a safe and fun time for our kids.
Before you go:
Do your research.
Many communities will establish a certain time frame for kids to trick-or-treat in, so both residents and law enforcement will be aware of when they may be on the streets, and to protect residents from “tricksters” who may try to take advantage of the night. It’s a good idea to check your local news source or community webpage to see if there are restrictions in your area. In my community, for example,children are only permitted to be out on Halloween from 6 to 8pm.
It’s also a good idea to plan the route your kids will take, especially if you are not going with them, and make sure they know to stick in areas you know and consider safe.
Alternatively, a number of local shopping centers and even churches offer “trick-or-treating” events, where kids can walk around a well-lit area, sometimes indoors, and collect candy from participating vendors or parishioners.
You’ve purchased your little ones that costume that they just had to have. Unfortunately, it’s a dark color that will make it hard for them to be seen by any cars on the street while they’re out. That’s okay, because you can make a last minute addition of reflective tape, found at any craft or hardware store, to their costumes. Or consider a battery-powered light pack, or a flashlight or other light-up accessory such as a lightsaber to make them more visible when they have to cross the street.
Instead of a mask that can make it hard to see, especially in a relatively dark area, consider using makeup on your kids’ faces. There are all sorts of specialty kits available for Halloween, or you can make use of normal cosmetics you have around the house.
When you’re ready to head out:
Make sure that your little ones are either with you, an adult or older teen you can trust, or at least with a group of friends. There really is safety in numbers when they are walking in or near dark, with loads of strangers out.
Encourage your kids to follow the courtesy rule-only visit houses where there is someone waiting out front or an outdoor light lit. Not everyone chooses or is able to hand out candy on Halloween, so remind your kids to be respectful. Also, it never hurts to encourage them to say thank you for the treats they receive.
It’s time to go home:
Unless your route out goes by grandma’s or your sister’s house, make sure that your kids don’t eat any treats until you get home and can check it. Consider counseling your kids to not eat their entire haul in one sitting, or take charge and ration it out to them. After all, the last thing anyone wants is for them to end their Halloween with a massive tummy ache!
Above all, have a safe and fun Halloween!