Kids wait all year for it. Buckets full of candy! What could be better? As a parent, however, you may see it a little differently. You want your little ghosts and ghouls to have fun, but what you want even more is to keep them safe. Check out our trick or treat safety tips for a safe and fun Halloween.
Preparing for the Big Night
Once that magic hour hits, your kids are going to want to be out the door. Do you really think that’s the best time to go over safety rules? Of course not. Do a little prep work in the days leading up, and go over your expectations for when the madness begins.
1. Plan Your Route
Stick to familiar houses, preferably on streets with light traffic. Check sites like Family Watchdog for sex offenders who may live in the area.
2. Use Technology
Did you know there are apps that can come in handy for trick-or-treating? Plan your route, stay connected and call for help in case of an emergency — there are apps to help with all of that.
3. Emergency Plan
Come up with a plan for what to do in case you get separated. Will there be a meeting spot? Should kids stay put? Will they have a phone to call you?
4. Lay Out the Rules
Go over safety rules for the big night. Check out our suggestions under Rules of the Road below.
The costume may look great, but is it safe?
1. Ditch the Masks
Masks can make it hard to see. Chose nontoxic face paint instead. Just make sure to remove all the makeup before going to bed to avoid skin irritation.
2. Make Sure It Fits
Who wants trick-or-treating to end up with bloody knees? Well-fitting costumes reduce the risk of tripping.
3. Flame Resistant
Between jack-o-lanterns and bonfires, Halloween night has its fair share of fire hazards. Be sure that costumes and wigs are labeled fire resistant.
4. Shine Bright
Put reflective tape on costumes and candy buckets. Wear light colors when possible. Carry flashlights or glow sticks.
Rules of the Road
Make sure your kids understand your Halloween night expectations a few days before trick-or-treating, and give them a reminder right before heading out the door.
1. Stay in a Group
You know the old saying “safety in numbers.” Tell younger kids they must wait for you, or another specific adult, before moving on to the next house.
2. Cross the Street at Corners
When kids zigzag across the road or dart out between parked cars, it makes it hard for drivers to see them. They will be most visible crossing at a corner and in a group.
3. Eyes Up
Pay attention, and be aware of your surroundings. It’s not a good time to be staring down at a phone while you’re walking around on dark, crowded streets.
4. No Light, No Way
Only go to well-lit homes. NEVER enter someone’s home or car.
Older Kids Going It Alone
Many sources recommend that kids under 12 be supervised by an adult while trick-or-treating. However, you are the only one who can make the decision about when your kids are ready to head out on their own. If you think it’s time, do them and yourself a favor — make sure they understand the safety rules. If possible, have them carry a cell phone, and consider downloading a tracking app like Life360 that allows you to stay in communication and keep an eye on their location in real-time.