- Written by Lynn U. Nichols Lynn U. Nichols
Treat your kids to a not too scary Halloween Letting our kids roam the streets at night is not something we generally allow, that is, except on Halloween. It’s a holiday that’s made for a bit of rowdy fun. When kids are young, it’s easy. You simply go with them around a block or two and call it a night. It’s the later elementary years when things can get a little spooky—letting them go off on their own with their friends. Here are some tips to keep the night safe and focused on fun—rather than on dangers that could be lurking around the next corner.
1. Costume check
Encourage your kids to choose a costume that doesn’t set them up for trips or falls. Help make them more visible by putting reflective tape on the back of their costume, or insist they carry a flashlight or glow stick to enhance visibility.
2. Review safety rules
According to SafeKids Worldwide, twice as many kids are killed while out and about on Halloween than any other night of the year. Remind them of the buddy system—stick together—and to stay on well-lit streets—that means no cutting through alleys and lawns. Remind them to stay on the sidewalk, cross at the corners or at lights, and watch for cars backing out of driveways.
No going to homes without the porchlight on, no stepping in a home. Have them wait to eat their loot until they can get home and dump it out and inspect it. Any opened candy gets thrown out immediately. When someone offers a homemade or unwrapped treat, encourage them to politely decline. Remind them to never accept a ride, even if they recognize the driver as an acquaintance or neighbor. It’s smart to role-play different situations they might encounter. For safety sake, send along a school ID or an ID card with your emergency number on it.
3. Leave your pooch at home
If you are taking your kids out, resist the urge to bring Fido along, no matter how well behaved a dog he is.
4. Give young teens a break
When answering your door, try not to judge if you see a group of kids who look a tad too old to be trick or treating. It’s a hard age—in between child and adult—and there’s no night quite as fun to revert to being a child as Halloween. Finally, don’t assume that just because a child is tall they are a teen. Some elementary-aged kids can reach six feet.
5. Throw a party
If it’s all too overwhelming, consider hosting a Halloween party. The key is putting some good thought and preparation into it, making sure it’s fun and not lame to your young, hip audience. Let your kids come up with the ideas, and go all in. You can even make it an after party to assure trick or treating doesn’t run too late. Or, help them create a haunted house in the garage, so they can have the thrill of watching friends and neighbors jump.
It’s common for parents to feel some fear on Halloween night. Lessen your worries by getting in key safety messages before they head out the door.