Halloween Safety Tips for busy parents
Whether you believe in this very interesting tradition or not... it is very likely your children may be wanting to go 'trick or treating' tonight.
As a child of the 80's, we didn't have this tradition and as an ex-police officer and child abuse detective, it sets off all sorts of alarm bells in my child safety and prevention brain.
In my area, Halloween is a big deal for the children and kids are EVERYWHERE for around 4 hours of the evening. It's mayhem and it's very easy for children to get caught up in the fun and make unsafe decisions or get caught out.
With that being said, our kids are going to want to be involved and ensuring their safety is extremely important.
Especially since most days of the year we are telling our children to NOT take lollies and candy from strangers and on this one day of the year we throw all these stranger danger rules out the window.
Here are some tips for SAFELY 'Trick or Treating' and to keep your kids safety whilst they do:
1. Kids under 12 years old SHOULD ALWAYS be accompanied by an adult.
Older siblings should not be responsible for younger children. Older siblings can accompany younger siblings to the door to get their treats but they should not be left responsible for walking the streets with their younger siblings without ADULT SUPERVISION.
2. Teens over the age of 12 should be in GROUPS of 3-4 or with an adult.
I would encourage young teens to stay in groups and take care of each other. All teens should also be in touch with a PARENT or CARER throughout the night and have a pre-determined time to be home.
3. NEVER GO INSIDE A HOUSE OR CAR!!!
Talk with your children and teens about stranger danger safety which in this case includes NEVER entering someone's home or car. If someone asks them to go inside or to come with them in their car, discuss 'ACTION' steps you want them to take NEXT so they know what to do in that situation if it ever happens.
4. Only take SEALED/PACKAGED candy/lollies
If you are with your children during the evening, ensure they only take packaged/sealed candy or lollies. If your teen is going with friends, be sure to explain why they need to only collect candy/lollies which is sealed. Unfortunately, we can't be certain that the candy/lollies hasn't been tampered with but it has less chance if it's in individual packaging.
5. Discuss ROAD SAFETY with all children and teens
I know from our area, there is kids everywhere just on dusk and as the sun goes down. It makes for a really dangerous situation when drivers and 'trick or treaters' aren't paying attention to the road. Be sure to DISCUSS road safety rules!
6. Where possible, be with them so that you can ensure they are SAFE at all times.
On the few occasions my daughter has gone trick or treating (when I succumbed to peer pressure) I have gone along with her and her friends. Even as recent as last year, I tagged along and just kept an eye on her and her friends. I wasn't involved in any of the trick or treating but I took the dog for a walk and FOLLOWED along.
Quite frankly, we are SUPER careful all year around about STRANGER DANGER and our children's safety and we should continue to do so no matter the day of the year!
7. IF IT DOESN'T FEEL RIGHT, DON'T DO IT!!!
You don't have to take your kids trick or treating or let them go if it goes against your values or beliefs or if it doesn't feel right. There is so much we can do instead and if you don't feel like you want to dress up, go with your kids or even let your teens go, you don't have to.
Good luck and happy 'trick or treating'!