Keeping Your Kids Safe While Trick-or-Treating
Halloween brings with it costumes, jack-o-lanterns, and all sorts of ghouls and goblins, but when do we know our supernatural-loving minds are playing tricks on us? Whether you’re trick-or-treating in the afternoon or at night, following some simple safety tips and being aware of your surroundings will take you far this holiday.
- Safety in Numbers: Travel in groups of four or more when you trick-or-treat. Not only is it safer, but your kids will also have so much fun with their friends. My son likes to trick or treat with his best buddies from class, and the mommies usually dress up as well. If your child is young, always have at least one parent present—both physically and mentally. Kids are running up to strangers’ doors, crossing busy streets, trying to sneak pounds of candy, and keeping tabs of where your ghosts and goblins are is a full-time task! Tweet and upload the costume photos to Facebook later. (As a social media junkie myself, I know, it’s hard, but you can do it!)
- Make Sure Costumes Fit Well: If your kid’s getup is too long, hem it with safety pins or simple basting stitches, as straight pins will poke kids when they begin to race around in search of candy. If the costume involves wearing a mask, make sure your trick-or-treaters can see properly and breathe well. (Alternately, embellish the costume with makeup and face paint.) If your kids are small, you may also want to consider how easily getting to the bathroom will be for them. Remember: plan ahead for smooth sailing!Halloween is not a day for my son: It’s a lifestyle. He loves picking out his Halloween costumes, and will continue wearing them well past Halloween—until he outgrows them! It’s not uncommon to see him at the local supermarket in January in his Iron Man getup. If your child is like mine, or if you want to make your dollar go further by re-purposing the costumes as dress up clothes, take that into consideration when you are altering it.
- Check the Weather Forecast: Before you leave the house, be sure to to check the temperature! Is your child’s costume appropriate and warm enough? You can always add or remove layers as your kids warm up or become chilly, but it’s best to be prepared. Kids worried about extra sleeves clashing with their costumes? Tell them that even Batman wears long underwear sometimes!
- Don’t Forget The Feet: Sneakers are a kid’s best bet for long trick-or-treating treks. Your pretty princess can still be the belle of the ball in tennis shoes—and her feet won’t blister after the first block like they would in her pretty princess shoes. If she really insists, buy some cheap sneakers she can glue glitter and gems on to make some dainty DIY kicks. She will still feel sparkly, and it will be even more special since she helped make her own costume.
- Let There Be Light! The days are getting shorter, so chances are good it’ll be dark when you head out on Halloween night. Take flashlights, and make sure your kids are wearing flashing buttons or are carrying glow sticks. They will get a huge kick out of it, and you’ll be able to easily see them. I always keep extra batteries in my backpack as well.
- Save Room For Dessert: Your kids don’t need to eat their whole candy haul on Halloween night. (Okay, neither should parents!) As soon as you get home, examine the haul and toss any candy that looks like it wasn’t wrapped properly or might have been tampered with. Let your kids each choose one piece of candy, and tell them to brush their teeth—and maybe take a bath, depending on how much makeup they are wearing. They’ll probably be tired from the festivities, so be sure to send them to bed as close to their normal bedtime as possible; it’s been a long day for everyone. (Plus, once the kids are asleep, mom and dad can take a few pieces of the good stuff to make sure it’s all safe. In our house, Daddy always takes all the peanut butter cups…but I didn’t tell you that.)
- Go With Your Gut: I think this might be the most important and most overlooked piece of year-round advice: As parents, we often “feel” when something or someone is “off”. Go with that feeling! Even if you skip a house or two along the way, there is always another doorbell to ring.
Samantha Feuss is a social media expert, columnist, blogger, and freelance journalist who writes on parenting, travel, and toys. She lives in the NY Metro Area with her husband and son. She blogs at havesippywilltravel.com and tweets at @havesippy.