Halloween is the unofficial kickoff of the winter holiday season, and for kids, it is a little slice of heaven! Unlike other holidays, this one lets the imagination roam wild as spooky decorations, stories, and costumes litter the landscape in preparation for one spectacular night of trick-or-treating!
In my experience, Halloween is delightful chaos. At any one point, there are hoards of happy kids swarming the neighborhood after dark, all seeking whatever candy they can obtain. Yet, as the parent of a uninhibited and adventurous 3-year-old, this increased activity (and sugar intake) makes me want to cover him in glow sticks and put him on one of those kiddie-leashes while we stroll around the neighborhood.
With such safety concerns surrounding this holiday, I want to introduce four simple tips to ensure that your family and friends have a safe and happy Halloween.
1) Proper Adult Supervision is Key
If your child is going to go with a group of other kids, make sure a reasonable adult goes with them and keeps the ratio of kids to adults manageable. This will be a busy and exciting evening, so it’s easy for little ones to get distracted and wander away from the group. Give each kid in the group some sort of identifying marker to help the adults keep track of them in a crowd.
2) Keep Your Eyes Peeled
Just because you know your town’s designated trick-or-treat night doesn’t mean everybody else does. Remember – Halloween typically happens after dark, and drivers don’t always pay attention. It’s a good idea to give your little ones flashlights, and you should also consider putting reflective tape on their costumes as well.
Two years ago as I was handing out candy, a car came barreling down our street while it was full of kids. I jumped out in front with a flashlight to alert the drive and kids of the danger. Paying attention keeps everyone safe.
3) Plan Your Trick-or-Treating Route
If your kids are going out with a large group or if they are old enough to go out with just one buddy, prepare your game plan ahead of time. Plan out the trick-or-treating route with your kids and give them designated check-in times.
4) Stay Connected
If possible, give your little ones a cell phone if you won’t be with them. Many smartphones today have tracking apps to help you locate your child should they get lost. If your kiddo isn’t smart-phone equipped (ours won’t be until we know that he won’t make long distance calls to Norway on a whim), consider picking up a pay-as-you-go phone. This cheap alternative will also come in handy for school field trips and other excursions in the future.
Making sure your kids are safe and sound not only gives you peace of mind, it helps to preserve the fun and wonderment of a time-honored holiday tradition – especially one ending in a sugar-fueled whirlwind of laughs and smiles!