Kids love trick or treating. But for parents it can scarier than Freddie Kruger hiding under the bed. Dark nights, ghoulish costumes, stranger’s houses. It’s everything we would usually have them avoid like the plague.
So, how can we find the balance to allow our children to have fun, but ensure they stay safe?
Follow our advice so your kids stay safe trick or treating … but still have a bloodcurdling blast.
15 Ways to stay safe trick or treating
1. Go with them (if it's not too uncool)
It’s great trick or treating with really young kids as it’s a given that parents go along and join in the fun. Try and encourage this for as long as possible. Being with your kids while they wander the dark streets is the best precaution for them to stay safe trick or treating.
2. Road safety
Whether you are with your kids or not, make sure they are aware of road safety. This includes walking on pavements (not roads), looking both ways before crossing or only crossing at pedestrian crossings or in well-lit areas.
3. Plan a safe trick or treating route
If you plan a route with your children, not only will you know where they are going and when they will be home, but you can make sure it is safe. For example, choose streets which are well lit, with pavements and little traffic, as well as residential areas popular with young families.
Halloween safety tips (cont.)
4. Go while it's still light
This may defeat the purpose but actually seeing where you’re going does make it easier. Plus, you get the best pick of the Halloween treats! Going earlier also means you miss the older kids terrorising in gangs … now that really is scary, with or without the creepy costumes.
5. Light your kids up
If going out in daylight is not an option, make sure your children are well lit up. You could include some reflective strips on their costumes, hang a torch off them or decorate them with glow bands. Anything that makes your little one glow in the dark will help them stay safe trick or treating.
6. Choose a safe trick or treating costume
It is marvellous that your child wants to go treat or treating as the human centipede, but is it practical? And if not, can you make it practical? Avoid long hems they can trip over, high-heeled footwear, anything too hot or too cold, and masks that will impair their vision.
Further reading: 15 Really easy kids Halloween costumes.
7. Only go to houses you know
In residential communities where people know one another, it is easy to collect a bountiful booty stash by only visiting the homes of friends and families. They will be delighted to see you and will likely have some special treats in store. Best tip ever for safe trick or treating!
8. Only go to house with decorations
Make sure your children know that not everyone shares their enthusiasm for Halloween, and some people are intimidated by night-time house callers. They should only call on houses that have decorations outside and are clearly happy for their visit.
9. Never go inside an unknown home
There is no reason for a child to going inside a house while treat or treating. Decorations and treats should be at the front of the home or given out at the front door. Many people now leave garages open, lit and decorated so kids can call on them there.
Ways to stay safe trick or treating (cont.)
10. (No) trick or treating
It may be called ‘trick or treating’ but the trick part is not acceptable. Nobody has to provide Halloween lollies, and if they don’t, ensure your kids use their manners and move on politely. Tricks can get out of hand and be upsetting for people and pets, as well as damaging to property.
11. Stick together for safe trick or treating
Whether you are part of the ghostly gang or not, to ensure safe trick or treating, make sure your kids understand the importance of sticking together at all times. Know how many are in their group and keep count regularly so no one is left behind.
12. Have a lost person plan
To cover all eventualities and stay safe trick or treating have a plan should someone get lost. For older kids, they will likely use Snap Chat maps on their phones. Younger kids could have a meeting point or maybe go onto the street (pavement not road) and wave their glow sticks in the air.
13. Drive like a Nana
If you’re behind the wheel on Halloween evening, take no chances and drive like a nana. Not all kids are in high vis and many are dressed entirely in black. This combined with over-excitement and sugar highs means they won’t always be thinking, so as a driver you must be ultra-cautious.
14. Check the treats
It is a good idea (if you get the chance) to check your kids treats before they eat them, or encourage them to do it themselves. Make sure they know what they’re putting in their mouths and leave anything part-opened or foreign looking for the bin.
15. Do something different
If treat or tricking is all too much, there are lots of other things you can do to entertain the kids on Halloween. Theme parks and local malls often have events. Schools might be holding Halloween discos. Or arrange a scary movie night at your home and prepare some spookily simple Halloween snacks.
Get more ideas and inspiration here: Frighteningly fun alternatives to trick or treating.