Trick or Treating should be one of the great adventures of Halloween for kids! They can get dressed in scary costumes and go door to door, begging “Tricks or Treats!” from neighbors. Lots of small towns have a Halloween Safe Night at the community center or school so kids can Trick-or-Treat safely but going door to door is the stuff of childhood memories! It should be a fun time, without trouble and pain, so following some easy tips can keep your child safe every Halloween.
Children should always go trick or treating accompanied by a responsible adult. If you have a group of kids going, the parents should choose two or three of them to go along and keep an eye on things.?
Some towns set a curfew for trick or treating which makes it easier for townsfolk to know who’s coming to their door. Make sure and stick to the curfew times, and stick to subdivisions and areas with a lot of homes so your kids can get in as much trick or treating as possible.
Plan a safe route so parents know where their older kids will be at all times. Set a time for their return home. Make sure that your child is old enough and responsible enough to go out by themselves. Make sure that they have a cell phone.
Let your children know not to cut through back alleys and fields if they are out alone. Make sure they know to stay in populated areas and not to go off the beaten track. Let them know to stay in well lighted areas with lots of people around. Explain to them why it can be dangerous for kids not to do this. If they are going out alone, they are old enough to know what can happen to them in a bad situation and how to stop it from happening.
Instruct your children not to eat any treats until they bring them home to be examined by you. This way you can check for any problem candy and get the pick of the best stuff!
Instruct your child to never go into the home of a stranger or get into their car. Explain why this is not a god idea and what to do if someone approaches them and tries to talk to them.
Make sure your child carries a flashlight, glow stick or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars.
Let them know that they should stay together as a group if going out to Trick or Treat without an adult.
Children and adults tend to be preoccupied and may not pay as much attention to safety as they should. They may not see your vehicle or just assume that you see them. Stay on the defensive, and you shouldn’t have a problem while driving on Halloween night.
Don’t use a cell phone or other electronic device while driving on Halloween night. You shouldn’t be doing this anyway because it is dangerous. Some states have already made laws concerning this and others are working on it.
Pay extra attention, particularly to crosswalks, intersections and the side of the road. Kids tend to walk along the curbs, cutting across the street to get to other homes. Keep scanning all around you as you drive, whether as thru traffic or along with your kids as they trick-or-treat.
Drive below the posted speed limit in residential areas during trick-or-treating hours. This will allow you time to break if you see a child dart in front of you.
Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway, they could be dropping off children. This is more common in rural areas but can happen anywhere.
Instruct your child to never get into the car of a stranger. Given the Halloween excitement, it might be easy for your child to mistake someone else’s car with your vehicle. Put a lighted plastic Jack-O-Lantern on your dashboard to make your car more recognizable to your child, ?
Halloween is also a night that child predators are looking for victims. Let your child know that they should never get into the car of a stranger at any time. If someone stops them and asks for help or offers them candy, tell them to scream as loud as they can and run.
Make sure your child carries a flashlight, glow stick or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars. Let them know if they carry a flash light to never shine it in the eyes of a driver. This can cause drivers to experience temporary blindness, and they may not see your child.
Submitted by: Debra Gann, Client Advocate