Halloween has always felt like a birthday celebration to me. My birthday is November 2nd, so I usually get to spend time with my friends and family at Halloween events: trick or treating, costume parties, Halloween Horror Nights etc. When I was younger, we would take empty pillowcases and go door to door in my neighborhood asking for candy. My pillowcase would be full. It was seriously the best time.
Now that I am a mom, it is hard for me to extend the same carefree attitude to my daughter. It feels as if the world isn’t as safe as it was. Call me the helicopter mama if you wish, but here are a few things that I recommend to keep your children safe this Halloween.
Age-Appropriate Conversations with Your Children
Yami Pence on Instagram, is an amazing resource for Child Safety Education. She is a detective turned stay at home mama who has dedicated her social media page to teaching parents how to keep their children safe in everyday interactions. I recommend you follow her page for strategies.
One of my favorite lessons of hers is, How to Teach Children About Tricky People. She gives tips on how to equip them with the knowledge to keep them safe without scaring them.
Trick or Treating Options
Unlike when I was a kid, door to door trick or treating isn’t the only option anymore. Personally, I am a huge fan of trunk or treating. If you don’t know what that is, everyone parks near each other and decorates their vehicles and trunks – handing out candy to the kids in proximity. Not only is it faster but it allows for parents to walk less and not worry about cars driving down the street. Trunk or treating is good for ages 0-5 years old. Older than 5, they may be bored.
Neighborhood Trick or Treating
Usually, there are neighborhoods in town that are known to be great trick or treating. Fortunate for me, its my neighborhood. Our usual plan is to walk my block only, on the sidewalks, and trick or treat. Once that is over, we go back to our driveway to hand out candy. My daughter loves to hand out candy in her costume. It has become a tradition for us, and she isn’t missing out on anything. Quality over quantity.
There are a few tips that I have for trick or treating in neighborhoods though:
- Choose a well-lit neighborhood. If that isn’t an option purchase glow sticks and have you and your little wear them. I also recommend a flashlight. You want to make sure that cars can see you.
- Stay on the sidewalks. If that is not an option, I recommend walking against traffic so you can see vehicles coming in time to move out of the way.
- Check your county’s sex offender registry. In general, register so they can alert you of any sexual offenders or predators in your area. You can set a radius. Avoid those houses. It isn’t guaranteed that they will only be at their registered address, so this is where talking to your children about tricky people comes in handy. If you cannot find this information online, call your local sheriff’s office. They should be able to assist you in finding the database.
- Go where your child goes. I know this might not be the popular thing to do. I know I am the helicopter mom. But my child is not entering into any haunted house, trail and/or porch without me.
- If your child is older and insists on trick or treating with friends, set ground rules. I am talking about setting a time limit and potentially using an air tag or find my iPhone.
Do not forget about the candy tax
If you know, you know. There is a tax that parents take out of their children’s trick or treat bags. Not only is it right of passage but it gives you the opportunity to go through the candy and throw out anything that looks old or partially opened. Encourage your children not to touch the candy with bare hands. You should throw away candy if it: has an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes or tears in the wrapper, unwrapped items, home made goods. It may be smart to teach your children these things as well, so they do not accept candy that looks this way. Easier said than done, I know.
I hope you all have a SAFE and Happy Halloween. Check out my post about Fall Activities, if you are looking for things to do with the cooler weather.
If you have more tips, leave them in the comments below! I would love to add to this list.