Trick or treating is one of the great American traditions, and we can still enjoy a safe night out trolling for goodies…provided we use some common sense and give our kids a few important guidelines. Maybe you’ll be accompanying your hobgoblins door to door this year, or perhaps you have older children venturing out on their own with friends. Here are some general safety tips along with reminders for parents and important advice for older kids.
Trick or Treating General Safety Tips
1) Check your state’s Megan’s Law Sex Offender register. If there is an offender living in your neighborhood, be sure to skip that house. If you have older children who are out with their friends, be sure to tell them not to visit that home.
2) Accept treats only at the doorway, NEVER go inside a house.
3) Children under 12 years old should have at least one parent accompany them.
4) Parents should inspect all treats BEFORE eating anything.
5) Use caution around open flames or jack-o-lanterns with candles burning.
6) Cross the street only at corners and be sure not to hide between parked cars.
7) Wear brightly colored clothes, or use some reflective tape on your costume or bag.
8) Do not eat any unwrapped, partially wrapped, or home-made looking treats.
9) Stay in the open, don’t take shortcuts through alleys or backyards.
10) Visit only those houses where the lights are on.
Reminders for Parents with Young Children
1) Remind kids to stay with the group, and not wander off on their own.
2) Pin a small tag with your name & phone number to the inside of your child’s costume, or place in a pocket in case you get separated. 3) Use your cell phone to take a picture of the kids in their costumes before heading out.
4) Make sure children’s costumes don’t drag on the ground.
5) Use non-toxic, hypoallergenic make-up on faces; store bought costumes should be made of flame-retardant material.
5) Be sure your child eats dinner or a good, healthy snack before going out.
For Older Kids Trick or Treating on their Own
1) Never go out alone. Have at least 2 friends with you.
2) Carry a flashlight, a watch, and a cell phone.
3) Stay in familiar neighborhoods.
4) Don’t get into any car, even with people you know, unless you’ve gotten permission first.
5) Check first with your parents before going anywhere different or changing your plans once you’re out.
6) Be very cautious of any stranger who tries to join you.
7) Plan your route ahead of time with your parents and STICK TO IT.
8) In an emergency: Find another mom with kids to ask for help if you feel scared or need assistance.
Author Bio: Pattie Fitzgerald is a Certified Child Predator Safety Educator and founder of Safely Ever After, Inc. teaching parents and children everywhere non-fearful “safe-smarts”. For more info., please visit www.safelyeverafter.com.