Halloween is a time to celebrate the spooky spirit in all of us – lights, decorations, trick-or-treating and surprises! But no matter the age of your child, before the costume goes on and vast amounts of candy are consumed, parents need to think about Halloween safety to ensure the only surprise that happens during the evening is the one that is planned.
Whether they are old enough to trick-or-treat on their own or you plan on accompanying them door to door, children still need a safety plan before they leave the house.
Here are some things you should pay attention to before, during, and after trick-or-treating:
The Candy Route
- If you aren’t going with your children, make sure they tell you their plans beforehand. You could even do a quick walk through /drive-by and show them what neighborhoods they can and cannot visit. With many younger children owning cell phones now, we suggest they check in with you periodically throughout the night
- Each family will have different views as to what age their child can trick-or-treat alone, but this should be talked about beforehand and with other adults in your neighborhood. Talk to your neighbors about a community watch system that keeps an extra eye out for any suspicious behavior.
- Costumes should be fun and creative, but also make sure they keep your child safe. This means fire proof or fire retardant and preferably not all black which would make them hard to spot by drivers (something reflective would be wise). They could also wear a necklace with a neon stick attached to help them stand out in the dark. When it comes to masks, make sure to keep the eye holes big enough to not impair their vision.
Check your local area
- Ensuring your children stay away from those with a history of improper action towards children and others important. You can plug in your zip code here to see what houses should be avoided in your neighborhood. You can also call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline if you have any questions or concerns: 1.800.4.A.CHILD
- Are the streets around you well lit? Are they dark? Make sure you know this before going out as it may be wise to bring a flashlight with you.
- Does your neighborhood have a lot of car traffic? If so, consider putting up “Drive Slow” signs where you expect children to be walking. Even better, communicate with your neighbors about taking turns helping kids cross the street. Make sure your children understand the dangers of approaching a house on their own, and explain the buddy-system. They should know to never approach a house alone or one that doesn’t have lights on.
- If you have a teenager or your child is going to a party or hanging out with friends, make sure you know what their plans are and ask that they check in with you throughout the evening.
Getting lots of candy may be your children’s only thoughts on Halloween, but yours is making sure they stay safe while having fun. These tips should help make sure no unplanned surprises creep up on you and your family .
Stay safe and have a Happy and Spooky Halloween!