10 Tips to Help Keep Your Kids Safe on Halloween

dr. lori gore greenEvery October, children around the country buzz with excitement as they prepare dutifully for a holiday that caters to their imagination. On Halloween, children get to dress up as whomever they want, run around outside with their friends, and get rewarded for this with candy. On paper, Halloween sounds almost too good to be true. And while the spirit of Halloween is meant to be harmless and fun, there are certain things that parents should think about when it comes to trick-or-treating.

The age at which a child is allowed to go trick-or-treating with his or her friends unaccompanied by an adult depends entirely on the rules set forth by the parent(s) or guardian. Regardless of what that age is, there are certain rules that parents should establish with their children beforehand. 

  1. Talk about the route that your child is taking
  2. Make sure that your child is trick or treating in a group with other children. Make a point to know who these friends are and talk to their parents so that you are all on the same page. 
  3. Tell your child that he or she should not go into the homes of the residents that they are visiting unless you have explicitly agreed on it. 
  4. If your child has a cell phone, come up with certain times when your child will check in. 
  5. Come up with a clear curfew and meeting point if you will pick up your child.
  6. Have a code – an expression or word that your child can use (via text or when talking on the phone) if they want to come home. Find out where your child is and pick him or her up immediately. While it’s likely that it isn’t a true emergency, make sure that you evaluate the situation when you get there to ensure that the other children aren’t in any true danger. Try not to interrogate your child on the way home. Just make sure no one is hurt or in danger. After that give him or her some space and then talk about it a bit later. 
  7. Tell your child not to accept unwrapped goods.
  8. Have a candy system. While candy is one of the main draws of Halloween, kids can often go overboard if left to their own devices, so be very clear about how much/how often they are allowed to eat these treats. Additionally, consider finding ways that they can share the candy with others.
  9. Make sure that your child brushes and flosses her teeth longer than usual when she gets home. 
  10. Encourage your child to use good judgement and have fun!

For more great tips on halloween safety, see this article.