You may be one of those parents who feel that trick or treating just isn’t safe anymore. There is a risk in approaching a stranger’s home as well as eating what may be given to them as a treat. Still, it seems a shame to forgo a holiday which has always been such fun for kids and adults. There’s no need for this–if you take precautions.
Perhaps, as an alternative, you’ve considered taking them to a community center or church-sponsored party. Great idea! This may well be a safer way to celebrate. However, you need to attend the party with them, especially if they’re small, and keep an eye on them at all times. It’s still an environment where others are in control and many strangers are in attendance. While it may be safer than trick or treating, your child can disappear in a moment. Keep watch!
If you have an older child, be sure he/she has a cell phone to use in case of an emergency and be sure it’s charged before leaving the house. If there is a party in the plan, make sure you know where they will be and speak to the parents beforehand. Know the route that will be taken getting to the party and home again in case you have to go looking. Be sure your child knows to call if there is a change in plans. Set a curfew and discuss the consequences of breaking it with your child.
Use the internet to check neighborhoods. Most local and state governments have websites that have a list of registered sex offenders and their addresses. Just enter the zip code. Of course, not all register but some knowledge is better than none. Discuss these with the kids making sure they understand why they must avoid these addresses.
If you decide to let them trick or treat, go with them if at all possible. If not, ask another adult to take responsibility for them. Make sure it’s understood by all that your child is never allowed to enter a stranger’s house or car. Tell your child to run back to you (or their guardian) if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable or afraid. Let the child practice running and calling for help. While the child will regard this as a fun game, it also reinforces the action and will bring it to mind should the need arise.
Look for a safe costume that allows good peripheral vision and also is treated with a fire retardant. A better option would be to paint their faces. You can buy face paint or make your own. Just check the internet for a recipe. The best costume I ever saw was homemade. The person was made up and dressed as a male on one side and female on the other. Looking at either side was pretty cool but the straight-on view was bizarre. Try to find a costume that doesn’t have props that could trip the child when walking. For example, carrying a pitchfork with one hand and a container for candy in the other can create a problem. A small flashlight attached to the costume or reflective tape will make it easier to see your child in the dark.
Feed your child a meal before going trick or treating and tell him/her not to eat any treat until they are home and you have checked it. Throw our anything that appears to have been tampered with, as well as all home-made treats. It’s a shame but better safe than sorry. Look for any kind of puncture hole in fruit.
Make sure your child knows to go from house to house on one side of the street before crossing at the corner and coming back down the other side. Zigzagging back and forth across the street can lead to disaster unless you are walking with them. Also, try to walk with others for security.
Halloween can be just as much fun as you remember from childhood if you consider safety first.