Halloween is great fun for children as they run madly from house to house to gather up their special treats but there are also a number of precautions both children and adults need to take to ensure it is a safe and happy experience.
As a mother of two grown daughters, this Examiner has learned what to do and what not to do on All Hallows Eve. First and foremost, give your child a hearty dinner before they go out trick or treating. This way, there will be less dunking into the goodies before they get home and you have a chance to check out their treats.
Remember that the end of October means cold and sometimes rainy weather, so make sure the children are dressed warmly. Costumes can be put on over heavier clothing. Children these days seem to have a particular hatred for umbrellas but you should look for clear plastic covers to put over the costume, if necessary. However, make sure that whatever your child wears is not too long and/or might cause them to trip or fall. Masks should fit well and allow your child to see properly as well.
Ensure that your little ones will be safe on dark city or rural streets. In the excitement of the night, children can forget to look both ways before crossing a road. Little children should NEVER go out alone, even if you think they might be safe with older kids. Even they can get carried away but the sights and sounds of Halloween. A little reflector tape on a costume might also help drivers see your little ones better.
Never allow your child to enter a home alone to get their treats. Not everyone in this world has the best of intentions so just don’t let it happen. If your older child goes out with friends, make sure they know the dangers. This should also include the potential danger of getting into anyone’s car, even if they know the driver. Statistics prove that nine times out of 10, a child knows his or her abductor.
If your older child does go out with friends make sure they know not to talk to strangers and to stay close to the group, as there are some people (usually older kids) who just might grab their goodies, saving them the trouble of going door to door. Tell your child beforehand, which streets they are allowed to trick or treat on.
For older children, give them a watch and a curfew – a time that you expect them home. If they have a cell phone, all the better. That way he or she can call if something happens, they find themselves too far from home to make it back in time or they need a ride.
Finally, encourage your kids not to dig into their goodies until they get home. When they do, go through everything in their bag. Do not let them eat anything that appears homemade, treats in packaging that has rips or holes in them or unwrapped candy. If there are apples or other fruits, be sure to slice them up before letting your child eat them. Too many kids have already been hurt due to needles and other items inserted inside these items.
Note: When it comes to passing out Halloween treats, it can be a frustrating experience for parents. First there are the teenagers who think it is fun to harass people along the way. You know they are far too old to be out trick or treating, so give them something healthy like an apple or box of raisins. You can bet they won’t be back next year!
There are also the young parents who show up at your door with an infant either in their arms or in a baby carriage. You know darn well that the baby won’t be eating the candy or other treats you are providing. In such cases, keep a box of baby cookies on hand so you know your offering will go to the baby!