It’s that time of year, and before you know it, Halloween will be here again. It’s the time for all the little ghosts and goblins to go knocking on doors in search of goodies, shouting out “Trick or treat!”
Before you let your kids out on the only day of the year when it’s technically okay to accept candy from a stranger, remember these tips for staying safe.
Check Your Town’s Schedule
In the old days, everyone just went trick or treating on Halloween. But now, many towns prefer to organize their own trick or treat events. Consult with your local newspaper or town’s website to find out what day and time trick or treat is scheduled for this year, as well as what time the fun is expected to end for the night.
Travel in Groups
Have older kids head out in groups, and stay together as they make their spooky sojourn through the neighborhood. Little ones should have a parent overseeing each group. If you can get two parents per group, even better. Station one grownup at the head, and the other at the rear. This way, no kids can accidentally wander off or get lost.
Light the Way
If your children are old enough to go out after dark, flashlights will come in handy. You can buy some fun, Halloween-themed flashlights for them to carry, along with a special glow-in-the-dark trick or treat bag to recycle every year or hand down as the kids grow. Having the kids wear glow-sticks or reflective costumes will help them to be seen by passing cars.
Easy on the Scare Tactics
Know what “too scary” means. A fondness for blood and gore has been a growing trend in recent years. If older kids want to go with a Walking Dead or Scream theme, make sure they won’t be seen by younger brothers and sisters who might find these costumes upsetting. The old “put on a horrifying mask and jump out in front of the unsuspecting preschooler” joke may seem funny to some, but not to the trusting tot who’s apt to be scarred for life!
If a stranger in a car pulls up, steer clear. Make sure kids know that stranger danger still applies, even on Halloween. The one exception might be the town police or local firefighters, who sometimes make their rounds handing out candy on this festive day.
Don’t Go Inside
If someone unfamiliar invites trick-or-treaters to come inside and accept their Halloween treats, kids should politely decline. This doesn’t have to be awkward. Instruct them to say “no thank you,” or “I’m not allowed,” and quickly be on their way.
Check All Candy
Check candy before consuming. It’s been a long time since the treat tampering scares of the ’80s. Even so: better safe than sorry. Discard of any Halloween candy that’s missing a wrapper or appears to have been opened. Break bigger bars in half before serving to kids. Only accept unwrapped goodies, such as homemade cookies, from friends you know.
Keeping these safety tips in mind will ensure that your trick-or-treaters have a safe, fun, and spooky Halloween!