Happy Halloween everyone! I believe Halloween is one of the best holidays out there. I mean, when else is it acceptable to pretend to be someone else for a whole day, whether real or imagined, and no matter what age you are? It’s a night when we get to let our creativity fly in costumes we’ve worked on for months (or threw together 10 minutes before going out). And there is nothing like going door-to-door to collect different treats at random houses.

Of course, Halloween is also a night when safety counts. With so many little ones on the same street as drivers as well as plenty of interactions between children and strangers, there is huge opportunity for things to go awry. So I’m including a list of tips and talking points to bring up with your kids before going out on Halloween night.

Younger Kids:

~ Never go into a house of someone you don’t know, unless your parents are there with you and say it’s ok.
~ Stay near your parents while going out.
~ Stay off the street, and cross as a group. Don’t run, but walk across to be better seen by drivers.
~ Never dart into the street until your parent says it’s ok, and be sure to stick with them.
~ Refrain from eating candy you receive until you’re home and your parent has checked through all of it.
~ Opened candy or homemade treats should not be eaten at all, and should just be thrown away.

Older Kids/Teens:

~ Going out as a group is not only more fun, but a lot safer – especially if you’re trick-or-treating without a parent around.
~ Do not go into anyone’s home or car you don’t know.
~ Be extra careful when crossing the street.
~ If you’re at a party, have a buddy system. Guard your drink. And if things get out of hand, call an adult to come get you. Better to risk getting in trouble than getting hurt….or dead.
~ Vandalism is against the law. Making someone else clean up mess or pay for damage you created is not only unfunny, it can get you and/or your parents in a lot of trouble.
~ Torturing or killing animals, like black cats, is definitely not funny. Not only is it hurting an innocent animal, it can also land you in a lot of trouble.

Parents:

~ Know your neighborhood, or the neighborhood you’re trick-or-treating in. Check out the maps at meganslaw.ca.gov and avoid the houses of sexual predators.
~ Consider nixing trick-or-treating altogether and attending a carnival.
~ A costume is safer if it doesn’t include vision impairing masks or is so long it causes tripping. Also, ensure that any weapon or prop they are holding has no sharp points should they fall on it or accidentally hit someone with it. And being that most doorsteps will hold a lit candle, all costumes should be fire proof or treated with fire retardant.
~ Everyone in the group should wear something that will make them easily visible in the dark, like reflective tape and a glow stick. Also, carry a flashlight.
~ If your kids are not going with you, know the route they will be taking beforehand, and set a curfew for when they should be home. Ensure they stay in well-lit areas and to not go through alleys or short-cuts.
~ If your older kids are attending a party, have a talk with them about drinking and being safe. Make it ok for them to call you should anything go wrong. It’s better for them to be safe than to be caught in a bad situation because they were too afraid to call home. Meet the parents who will be supervising the party, and get phone numbers.
~ Have a very serious talk with your child about vandalism and animal cruelty. Stress the consequences of such actions, morally and legally.

Drivers:

~Go slower than the speed limit, especially when you see people walking on the side of the street.
~ If you see a car stopped, STOP and assess the situation. It’s possible they are just waiting to make a turn. But it’s also possible they are waiting for someone to cross the road or get into their car.

There are many things to be aware of on Halloween night. For more safety tips, I highly recommend the site halloween-safety.com. If you have more tips for families on Halloween night, please include them in the comments.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!