When my kids were little I planned things in advance. Now that they’re older I’ve become more of a procrastinator. Trick or treat is in a few days and we still need to decorate our house and buy candy.
The Health and Safety Institute had a pretty good Make Halloween Safe in Your Community post and it reminded me of a guest post I had written for Multiples and More. It was Halloween Safety Tips for Trick or Treating with children. I wrote the post years ago, but the tips are still valid today to keep trick or treat safe for our kiddos.
- Plan out your costumes. Make sure everything fits and if you’re in a colder climate make sure it will fit over a warm coat.
- Make sure part of their costume is reflective. Streetlights aren’t always bright and not every place has them. If you’re in a town without sidewalks reflective striping is a must.
- Incorporate glow sticks, glow necklaces or glow bracelets as part of their costumes.
- Pick up some fun Halloween themed flashlights. Not only does it help the kids find their way, it helps you spot them if they get a little too far ahead of you.
- Plan out where you are trick or treating. Stick to your neighborhood or neighborhoods you know well. This is not about where the candy is, but where it is safe. If your state has an online sex offender registry check it. Check where sidewalks and cross walks are. Plan your trip in a loop or several small loops so you can end up back where you started.
- Check the trick or treat times for your town. If you have younger children plan to go out at the start when it might not be as dark.
- If you would be alone with several young children recruit a friend, family member or mother’s helper to come with you. Or partner up with a neighbor who has children and trick or treat as a group.
- Make sure you have buckets or bags to hold candy and a flashlight for each child.
- If you will be alone with several children think of what types of costumes might allow them to be connected together. If you have a small group of cowboys or cowgirls have a section of rope for everyone to hold. If you have princes and princesses then a magic ribbon or sash that everyone needs to hold might help keep the group together.
- Have an early filling meal shortly before going out. This way the kids won’t want to eat their candy right away.
- Have good footwear. Both for you and your children. They might be running across grass or dirt. If one falls and the rest don’t your group can get separated.
- Keep it reasonable. If the kids seem distracted or too excited cut it short. This is exciting for them, which can make it hard for them to remember what is expected of them. Short and fun is better than drawn out and stressful.
- Review safety rules with the kids. Everyone needs to stay together as a group. Have a safety meeting spot if anyone thinks they have been separated from the group. Do not visit houses that do not have the outside light on.
- Photograph the kids together when you leave the house. It will help you remember what everyone is wearing.
- Before and after each house you visit do a head count.
- Walk up to the door at each house with the kids, don’t stand at the curb.
- Sort candy when you get home. Remove anything that is open or that you don’t want the kids to have.
Some towns have alternative Halloween celebrations that you can use to replace trick or treating. One year when my older girls were little I took them to a Trick or Treat at college dorm. They had activities for the kids and trick or treating on marked floors. Some towns have a structured Halloween activity. Check with your local Recreation Department or School to see what is happening in your town.
Have a safe & happy Halloween!