According to the U.S. Census, there are more than 40 million children in America between the ages of 5 and 14, meaning more than 40 million potential trick-or-treaters every Halloween. That number rises significantly when you include older teenagers and young children escorted by their parents.
With such a crowd, and with so many things that could go wrong, how do you keep your child safe on what’s supposed to be a fun, festive evening? Here are five ideas.
1: Never Go Anywhere Alone
It’s easy to lose track of your little one when the whole street is full of excited trick-or-treaters. Make sure they know not to go anywhere alone, not even “that one house right there” or “just around the corner.”
2: Don’t Eat Any Candy
Unless you or another adult has given the okay, make them resist snacking on their candy until they get home. Tales of tampered candy have been exaggerated by the media, but they do have their origins in real life.
3: Agree on Danger Responses
Does your child know what to do if they get separated from their trick-or-treating group? What if a stranger tries to convince them to come inside a van to get their candy? Run through “what if” scenarios together so there will be no panicking or split-second decisions that go terribly wrong.
4: Carry A Light Source
Make sure they can always be seen by cars in the street. Flashlights are traditional; reflective tape on their costume is another option. The glow of their phone would work as well, but be careful if it’s an expensive model, because then your child will be flashing it around and asking for a robbery.
5: Never Go Into A Stranger’s House
One of the most important and yet often overlooked pieces of Halloween safety advice: Don’t ever, ever enter a stranger’s home. It doesn’t matter if they want to “go find their candy” or “get a better look at that costume.” Train your child to say, “My mommy says it’s not allowed” and stick to it.